Tinja Preservative Free Merlot 2010

It strikes me as difficult to write about this wine without making its preservative free, organic status central to the discussion, purely because such wines are relatively uncommon. This wine understands the value of rarity; its back label acknowledges it has been made to meet an “overwhelming demand” for such styles. I don’t know enough about the market to know if this is accurate or anticipatory. In any case, it appears this isn’t a one-trick pony. For starters, the fruit originates from low-yielding, unirrigated vines and was handpicked; hardly the most cost-effective way of supplying a niche market that (and perhaps I’m being unkind) may not be driven primarily by a passion for beautiful wine.

So I approach it assuming an integrity of intent, and am pleased to note it is, at the very least, soundly made. It’s also extremely young; there’s even some spritz in the glass that seems to have wandered in from a bottle of Hunter Semillon. Given its age and style, the flavour profile is inevitably bright and redolent of fermentation esters as much as fruit notes. I’m a little torn; on the one hand, my instinct is to suggest leaving it for a few months to settle, but I’ve no experience with this type of wine so wouldn’t have a clue how it will evolve.

The palate is light and quite savoury, with crunchy (perhaps overly assertive) acid cutting through moderately intense fruit flavours that tend towards the red fruit spectrum. What tannins there are come across as chalky, loose and pleasantly textural. There’s basically no complexity, and nor would one expect there to be. What’s important here is a flavour profile that avoids obvious, sweet fruit, and which I suspect is very food friendly.

I’m not sure this wine has a place in my life, but it’s nice to know there’s a worthwhile example available to those who value the style.

Lowe Wines
Price: $A20
Closure: Stelvin
Source: Sample

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