An exploration of wine

219. Geoff Merrill, Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve South Australia, 1996

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Book 2 Wine 219

c. €28; 13.5%

Really glad I picked this one up at the staff shop, because it didn’t conform to the “Aussie Cab Sav” stereotype. A really “poised” wine, that I wouldn’t have drunk otherwise. Unexpectedly restrained and elegant, medium-full bodied Cabernet. Medium-deep garnet core with some narrow bricking at the rim. Even when cool, some intensity of a maturing bouquet. A blend of black and red-currants (back-label said cranberries – plausible) with tomato “pomodoro” notes, plus distinctively black olive notes (also on back-label). Bouquet development I initially thought was cigar-box, then realised it was more a green capsicum note, which brought e to realise that this smells like a well-topped vegetable pizza (or would match spaghetti alla puttanesca). Robust acidity and smooth tannic grip gave pleasant structure to the palate and suggested some shelf life. Overall a very good “New” world Cabernet with “Old” world… well… poise: concentration vs structure; fruit and aged-development.

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