Sunday, August 14, 2011

2009 Tarrawarra K-Block Merlot (Yarra Valley)

I like the idea of this wine. It comes off an elevated, north facing site in the Yarra of much potential that had long been planted to Pinot Noir, but that was never altogether successful. In trying to better match site with variety, the K-block was replanted in 2006 with Merlot.

Anytime a winemaker in Australia looks to make serious Merlot it has me interested. We’ve generally made a good fist of other varieties, which are often synonymous with specific regions. Thus far, however, good to great merlot is still very much a patchwork in this country, and as yet not something that is as easily regionally identifiable. Clare Halloran at Tarrawarra is one of number winemakers around Australia currently looking to change this.

The wine itself is very much a savoury style of merlot. It has lovely plum fruit that is complemented by spice, some herbal notes, and well integrated oak. Nice line and length. It finishes with drying tannin and goes well with food.

The one issue with the wine is that which is common to many a red wine from the Yarra Valley in 2009, and that is smoke taint, the result of the tragic bushfires in that year. With this wine it’s initially not noticeable at all, but over the course of 3 days it became more evident. Not to the point that it was overwhelming, but rather just a touch distracting on the finish.

A good wine and 3.5 stars, with the suggestion that it is drunk sooner rather than later. I look forward to seeing what Tarrawarra can do with this wine from a great vintage like 2010.


RRP: $35
ABV: 14.5%


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