& French Mediterranean Wine
Richard Mark James' wine and travel blog

05 February 2018

Cabernet & Merlot: France, Chile, Australia.

Updated February 2018
I've added a few more Cab-Mer, Mer-Cab (Sauvignon/Franc) or straight Cab Sauvs that are worth the typing and fit the theme; the first one in particular is very well-priced:
Château Tanunda 2016 'Basket Press' Barossa Cabernet-Merlot (15% abv) - This sumptuous blockbuster red, one of Sainsbury's 'Taste the Difference' label range, is made by one of South Australia's most famous and elderly wine estates (as opposed to Monty Python's similar-sounding Chateau Chunder which was destined for 'laying down and avoiding...'), and is packed with cassis, ripe damson and liquorice flavours but is multi-layered and 'meaty' too. Lots of taste for £10.
Balnaves 2011 Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon - Minty cassis and toasty with leather and prune tones too, all at once (!), soft and silky tannins on the palate with a bit of oomph on the finish. Yum. Liberty Wines Ireland €38.99.
Woodlands Wines 2013 Margaret River Cabernet Sauvignon - Cedar and spice notes yet rich and savoury as well, nice blackcurrant fruit turning meatier on the finish, still firm but 'sweet' tannins, very concentrated, lovely wine.

Saint-Emilion Grand Cru 2015 Union des Producteurs de Saint-Emilion (Merlot, Cabernet Franc; 13.5% abv) - This reasonably classy 'east-Bordeaux' red made by the obviously very competent local co-op winery has been consistently tasty over the years. Well balanced, plummy and fairly soft with cedar oak undertones and subtle textured finish. £12.99 / £10.99 on offer according to the Lidl UK website (although not in their Belfast stores!).
Château Haute Combe 2015 Côtes de Bourg France (Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc; 14% abv) - Stylish example of a ripe plump Merlot-dominant Bordeaux style from the successful 2015 vintage, fruity and fairly soft with herbal edges and full-bodied mouth-feel. Mega-bargain discounted to under a fiver in Lidl! From one of Vignobles Bourdillas' properties I think.

El Recurso Vineyard 2016 'Block 18' Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Chile (13.5% abv) - One of their posher Finest labels, this was made by Cono Sur and shows class and concentration with ripe blackcurrant fruit and firm yet rounded texture. Currently not available in Tesco UK stores (?), it was about £12-13 but this was on offer for under ten; €18 in Tesco Ireland.

Wynns 2013 'Black Label' Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, South Australia - Minty cassis notes with savoury and red pepper edges, pretty solid palate still with attractive rounded tannins, concentrated showing enticing mix of ripe, herby and meaty flavours with a touch of smoky oak. Lovely. £22 Bibendum PLB Group.
Yalumba 2013 'The Signature' Barossa Cabernet Shiraz, South Australia (52% Barossa Cab and 48% Shiraz with some fruit from neighbouring Eden) - Dark and extracted colour, dusty smoky punchy nose, rich toasty grainy texture but nice and fleshy with it, sweet vs savoury fruit, extracted yet controlled tannins, powerful 'old-fashioned' Oz red in a 'mini-Grange' style. Yum. £35 Negociants.

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