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Ch. Reynella Cabernet/Merlot 1996
The Reynell name goes back to the very beginning of the wine industry in South Australia, when John Reynell planted some of the first vines in the infant colony in the area which was later to bear his name. This pioneer of the grape was born in 1809 of a Devonshire farming family.
Shortly after his arrival in 1838 John Reynell established his property, situated 20 kilometres south of Adelaide and 5 kilometres east of St. Vincent's Gulf - the gateway to the McLaren Vale wine region.
The Reynell family were actually the first to grow grapes commercially for winemaking in South Australia. Their first vintage was in 1842.
Tragically, the heirs to the Reynell business were killed in World War 2 and in 1953 the Reynell family relinquished its controlling interest in the company and Colin Haselgrove, the winemaker, was appointed managing director.
In 1970 Walter Reynell and Sons Limited was sold to Hungerford Hill Limited. In 1972 Hungerford Hill sold a half share of its wine interest to Rothmans of Pall Mall.
Towards the end of 1976 Rothmans took complete control of the company after the joint venture was dissolved.
In 1982 however, the old established SA family winemakers, Thomas Hardy and Sons Pty Limited bought Walter Reynell and Sons from Rothmans, with the aim of making the Reynella premises the corporate headquarters for their group of companies.
Known for opulent red wines with intense power and concentration, McLaren Vale is home to perhaps the most “classic” style of Australian Shiraz. Vinified on its own or in Rhône blends with Grenache and Mourvèdre, these hot-climate wines are deeply colored and high in extract and alcohol with signature hints of dark chocolate and licorice. Cabernet Sauvignon is also produced in a similar style. Whites, often made from Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc tend to be opulent and full of tropical, stone and citrus fruit.
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.
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.
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.