Fowles Wine Farm to Table Cabernet Merlot 2014
Fowles Wine vineyards and winery are located in the high altitude, cool climate region of the Strathbogie Ranges in Victoria, Australia. Led by Matt Fowles, a former lawyer who swapped the vitriol for the vineyard, Fowles Wine craft some of Australia’s finest cool climate wines, winning many of the world’s most prestigious wine medals and trophies. The Strathbogie Ranges is approximately 80 miles north east of Melbourne, and is a region of incredible natural beauty. Set in the foothills of Australia’s Great Dividing Range, the region is characterised by giant granite boulders that are 440 million years old. The family’s two vineyards - Upton Run and Billi’s - rest upon the free draining, granite soil from these decomposing boulders. The nutrient poor soil is ideal for viticulture; forcing the vines to put their energy into growing high-quality grapes. The vineyards are also perched on a rolling plateau at the top of the Ranges – giving each block unique aspects and micro climates which ensures each bottle of Fowles’ Wine is complex and distinctive. The high altitude of the area, with elevations up to 600 metres, granitic soils and cool climate all combine to produce elegant yet intense wines. The Fowles’ rich family history of vignerons, hunters and farmers is embedded in the winemaking philosophy. These pillars guide the winemaking team in producing three distinct styles of wine including: wines that reflect Strathbogie provenance and capture the granite terroir of the region, texturally fine wines that pair with the flavours of wild produce, and intensely aromatic wines that are crafted to complement the soft textures of farm raised meats. Theses wines represent the best of the next generation from Australia.
Nestled into the tip of its southeastern coastline, Victoria is Australia’s smallest mainland state, second most populous and third largest wine producer. Victoria includes the cool regions of Yarra Valley, Mornington Peninsula and Geelong, made famous mainly by impressive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The more inland Heathcote and Bendigo lead the way for complex and textured, full-bodied reds. Rutherglen’s fortified wines compete among the best on the planet.
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.
Tasting Notes for Bordeaux Blends
Bordeaux Blends are dry, red wines and generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, black cherry plum, graphite, cedar and violet. 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.
Perfect Food Pairings for Bordeaux Blends
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 Secrets for Bordeaux Blends
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.