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Balnaves Cabernet-Merlot 2012

Bordeaux Red Blends from Coonawarra, Limestone Coast, Australia
  • JH95
  • WS93
14.5% ABV
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3.5 7 Ratings
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3.5 7 Ratings
14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Balnaves Cabernet-Merlot is a deep red color with intense aromatics of blackberry, elderberry. Cassis fruit and toasty oak. The palate is medium bodied, showing soft plum and cassis fruit with warm spice from fine oak treatment and firm but fine grained tannins. A sense of austerity that will reward good cellaring.

Blend: 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot

Critical Acclaim

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JH 95
Australian Wine Companion
A 91/9% blend, destemmed and berry-sorted prior to fermentation, matured for 17 months in new and used French oak from the best coopers. This wine over-delivers at every point along the way, starting with its opulent bouquet, with its mix of red and black fruits, then a velvety, rich cassis-driven palate before moving into cedary, lingering finish, there supported by persistent, fine-grained tannins.
WS 93
Wine Spectator
Focused and expressive, layering the red berry, black plum, licorice and pumpkin pie notes with finesse and density. The flavors linger easily against moderate tannins. Drink now through 2022.
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Balnaves

Balnaves

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Balnaves, Coonawarra, Limestone Coast, Australia
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We are a small family owned wine company in the heart of the famous Coonawarra Terra Rossa strip. The initial vineyard plantings were commenced in 1975 and have now increased to 47 hectares. Although predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon the vineyard also includes Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Chardonnay and Shiraz.

Coonawarra

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Distinguished by a thin, subterranean band of crumbled, red clay loam, Coonawarra is a fairly flat, otherwise unobtrusive region with a cool Mediterranean climate, actually not unsimilar to Bordeaux.

In Coonawarra, this unique layer of red clay is called, "terra rossa" and gets its color from iron oxide. The terra rossa soil overlies soft, penetrable limestone, in a continuous area that is part of the Limestone Coast zone of South Australia. This uncommon layering of soils creates a substrate that is both well draining and at the same time, offers good water retention to support vines’ roots through dry summers.

Not surprisingly, Coonawara experiences great success with the Bordeaux varieties, namely Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, but also Shiraz. However Cabernet reigns superior and accounts for half of the Coonawarra harvest each year. Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignons develop powerful, yet polished tannins, and achieve ripeness without verging into imbalance. Typical of these unique reds are ripe red berry fruits with cassis, sweet herb and dried mint. The region has an increased focus on the individual expressions of single vineyard wines.

Bordeaux Blends

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One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

In the Glass

Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

Perfect Pairings

Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

Sommelier Secret

While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

HUDBALCABMET_2012 Item# 142838