|Acidity||6.25 grams per Litre|
|Vintage Conditions||After some useful rain periods through the Winter in 2012, Spring brought very dry weather with total rainfall well below average and consequently one of the driest in 5 years. The warm growing season continued through Summer with short heat spikes on a regular occurrence contributing to below average crop loading. With no rain during the earlier ripening season, fruit was harvested at optimum maturity leading to great tannin and concentrated flavours.|
Hello wine lovers!
I am kicking off 2016 into full swing, still looking at wines that were released back in 2015. We have to wait until April until I can get a run at some new stuff.
So here tonight I have a reasonably priced bottle of Cabernet Merlot. A famous blend from Bordeaux, this interesting blend tends to showcase the savoury herbaceous nature that can come out of Cabernet Sauvignon and then pair it up with the sweeter softer delicate fruits that come out of Merlot. Now, myself personally, I am not keen on Merlot. I think I may have said it before, but it always promises more than it actually delivers, however, when we blend it with Cabernet, I can somewhat tolerate it, and what it contributes to the wine. The aroma profile of Merlot is more appealing than that of Cabernet. Merlot tends to give off similar characters as cabernet excluding the savoury characters, and can make a full bodied wine such as Cabernet softer and more palatable, easing off any big tannin. We tend to use Merlot under hot growing conditions here in Australia, but I actually tolerate a cool climate Merlot more than I do a hot climate. Cool climate Merlot offers more balance of fruit, mineral and oak textures, as hot climate Merlot explodes forth with masses of fruit and perfume; which smell fantastic, but lacks carry on the palate.
Thu,s this the 2013 Annie’s Lane Cabernet Merlot from the hottest region in South Australia, way up north in the Clare Valley presents to us:
Colour: Deep Purple with Dark Magenta Hue
Fleshy aromas of rich fruit, Dark Cherry, and Black Currants. (As you have been informed, the addition of Merlot has enriched the boldness of fruit that comes across on the nose.) There are traces of spearmint and chocolate but it’s all wrapped up in a generous outpour of rich black fruit from the get go.
Moving on to the palate and the wine is quite medium bodied, and structured with some strong tannin backing. Dark Cherry works its way forwards, encased in quite a dominant amount of acid which promotes red currants, and sour cherry. We then find mild herbaceous tones of mint leaves and coca in the mid palate. There isn’t quite enough structure in the mid palate of this wine before it gets eliminated by the presence of tannin and cedar-wood on the finish, which, adds a bit more bite to this wine and then rolls onwards to a savoury finish, backed by some solid fruit and oak tannin presence rounded off with the flavour of mint and coffee grounds.
All-in-all, it’s not a bad wine for the price. I feel that it fell short on the palate though; as most Merlot based wines tend to do. I think spending time in American Oak, even for only 9 months of this wines maturation has somewhat killed of any fruit that I would have liked to have seen from this style of wine. I would have favoured using 100% French Oak Barrels for this wine. Although, I can see why they had confidence using American Oak also; with a very warm growing period for their Merlot and Cabernet. However, there is causation of tannin from the Cabernet grape already, and then that of the oak, which with time will settle; but, currently is a bit too bold for my tastes. (I wanted to see a wine that promoted both grape varietals.) This wine is bigger than it appears on the nose alone, yet has the ability to develop into something just a little bit more than a standard table wine with time and patience. You could say I actually miss the domineering fruit power and sweetness from Merlot. (I only feel it contributed to the actual richness of the wine one the palate, and never got to get its own fruit across, as was only present from the aroma.) Never-the-less though, it is a wine that will go beyond the realm of the dinner table, and in a couple of year worth looking at just by itself than with food. I think this is another showcase of the sheer dominance of the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. Every region in South Australia has seemed to benefited from this supreme vintage.
I am rather mixed in my feelings of this wine, I don’t love it, yet I can’t find any reason to be hating on it. In essence it has a good character and flavour profile with fruit and herbaceous tones which we want to see from this kind of blend. However, I think I can honestly say as a non-Merlot fan, I miss the presence of Merlot fruit flavours on the palate in this wine, and I thought I would never hear myself say that ever in my lifetime!
The SA Wine Guy