Wednesday, December 1, 2010

2007 Te Mata Estate Awatea Cabernet/Merlot (Retail)

Based on some of the press coming from New Zealand, the Hawkes Bay wine region has aspirations of matching Bordeaux in terms of the quality of the Cabernet blends they produce. Aim for the stars to clear the trees I say. RedtoBrown have been impressed with the wines we have tried from Hawkes Bay in the past, and at the entry-level, the Awatea is one of them. What stands out primarily with the Awatea (and also its TeMata big brother, the Coleraine) is its relative 'New World' austerity and restraint. There is sometimes balancing act between restraint and lack of fruit flavour/diluteness, though that is not an issue for this wine.

The Awatea (40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot) has a slightly herbaceous nose with capsicum and tobacco, though a pretty blueberry scent dominates. It is medium bodied, no more, and savoury.
An understated entry gives way to blackcurrants and medicinal herbs on the mid palate. Some more tobacco pops up on the finish, along with a prominent herbaceous bitterness (which may divide opinion, but I was a fan). Tannins are very fine and chalky, and the oak is subsiding a bit from when I first tasted it (yet not overpowering the fruit).

In summary, an elegant, restrained wine that may lack the oomph of some of the Aussie versions I know and love, though has enough weight to support its fine boned structure. I would like to try this wine with 5-10 more years of bottle age.


RRP: $45

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