Gardners Ground Merlot 2008

Onwards with my train wreck obsession with Australian Merlot. This one’s from the Cowra region (well, Canowindra actually) and is a pretty good rendition of a quaffing red. A bonus is that it’s organic.

The nose is robust and relatively complex, with juicy, jube-like blackberries, crushed ants, subtle oak and a bit of snapped twig for good measure. The straightforward fruit flavours are pleasing enough, but what I like most is the savoury notes are quite assertive, bringing interest and an edge to an otherwise plump aroma profile.

The palate shows similar characters and a pleasingly rough mouthfeel. Entry is quiet, the most significant influence being quite bright acid. Fruit weight builds towards the middle palate, and there’s a fun medicinal edge to the flavour profile. I like the rustic savouriness of the flavours; there’s a sappy, wood-like note that comes across as dirty, in a positive sense. The main issue I have with the palate is what appears to be an excess of residual sugar, which adds body but also prevents the wine from reaching an extreme of style that I’d be interested in experiencing. Still, it’s well judged for pleasurable, mid-week drinking. And I’m not going to argue too much with that.

Gardners Ground
Price: $A19.95
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

4 thoughts on “Gardners Ground Merlot 2008

  1. It’s interesting to hear about a decent Australian Merlot – being an ex-pat Californian living in Melbourne having moved from New Zealand I have struggled to find a Merlot on this side of the world that rings a bell of my Californian palate memories. I have tasted quite a few stemy, green, sour version down under that seem to miss the mark by a mile. I have heard numerous explanations for it from wrong grape, wrong location to one well known winemaker telling me it took him 10 years to realize he should not treat it exactly like Cabernet Sauvignon. I will keep a look out for it.

    • Thanks for the comment, Duncan. This one is OK, but made to a certain price point and ultimately of limited interest. I’ve had some nice merlots from Margaret River (Blue Poles, Brookland Valley) and there are also some that are worth trying from the Coonawarra region. I’d be very interested to know if you find some that are satisfying to your palate – I don’t think we’ve achieved any sort of critical mass in terms of quality merlots in Australia, nor does any region appear to be using merlot as a “hero” variety.

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