Blends always fascinate me. I always find it interesting to discover if when several components come together, they're greater than the sum of the parts. In Australia blending Cabernet Sauvignon with Shiraz is very popular. So much so that it seems to have influenced producers in other regions to follow suit. When they're done well, they can be intriguing blends, with both varietals strutting their stuff, so to speak. The blend I'm looking at today is from Australia, but it's not Cabernet and Shiraz. The 2007 Robert Oatley Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot is sourced in Mudgee, New South Wales. This is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon and the balance Merlot. It was aged for 12 months in French oak. Each varietal was harvested, fermented and barrel aged separately before blending and bottling. 5,600 cases of this wine, finished in Screw Cap, were produced. The suggested retail price is $20.
The nose of this wine is filled with bright red cherry notes and a hint of vanilla. Throughout the palate this wine is lush and mouth-filling with balanced fruit flavors from each varietal shining through. Black pepper and hints of sour cherry emerge on the finish which is above average in length. This wine has very good acidity and gentle, yielding tannins. This Cab/Merlot blend will be a good match for a wide array of foods.
What I like about this wine is that is shows off a side of Australian Wine that some folks never think of. Big, bold Shiraz is the Australian calling card, and with good reason, they make a lot of great ones. Here's a look however at a wine that defies that flavor profile and offers good complexity in a gentler, approachable, food friendly package.