Home' Hospitality Business : HB MAY 2017 Contents Wines are scored out of 100 points and are listed in no particular order. Numbers are not indicative of a ranking.
he truth is, it never went away, but Merlot's popular ity is such that
it is once again a smart choice for wine-by-the-glass programmes
(and it happens suit a wide range of food). As we go to print for
the May issue and New Zealand transitions into winter months,
restaurant wine teams will likely note a swing to medium to fuller bodied
red wines.The seasonal changes in food usually require a different wine
match, and Merlot steps up.
The var iety did suffer for a time from the release of the movie
Sideways, where the dialogue suggested it was no longer the Califor nia
‘in’ wine - seemingly having a dramatic downward effect on sales.
Merlot has remained one of the heroes of the grape world – it
does seem to live somewhat in the shadow of the mighty Caber net
Sauvignon and Caber net Franc, though both these var ieties ironically
don’t seem to do as well without it. The var iety underpins some of the
great red wines of Bordeaux (France) with many famous producers
and places such as Petrus or Le Pin and St Emilion or Pomerol –
making Merlot dominant blends. These wines and others from around
the west coast of France have inspired producers across the globe to
include Merlot in their plantings and to make wine that is fragrant and
fruity deliver ing a soft, plush and round textured wine with easy, yet
abundant tannins. New Zealand has histor ically favoured Merlot over
Cabernets Sauvignon and Franc - at 1256 Hectares it is the second
most widely planted red grape after Pinot Noir, far outweighing
plantings of the Cabernets.
New Zealand has a number of local and inter nationally recognised
producers of Merlot based wine, and it is commonly used (sometimes
dominant) in a blend – naturally with Caber nets, and also Malbec and
Petit Verdot. It is seen as the glue holding these var ieties together on
the palate. Merlot grows successfully in NZ in Hawke’s Bay (notably),
Wairarapa, Auckland, and Canterbury.
The aromas and flavours of Merlot can include: Blue fruits such
as plum and blueber r y, Red fruit such as raspberr y and red cher r y,
black fruit such as blackber r y, black cher ry, sometimes fig or fruitcake.
Elegant examples can also show scents of pur ple flowers especially
violets, sometime a little mint, bay leaf, fer n or tobacco can be included
in the descr iptors. The use of oak in straight Merlot or blends can show
aromas and flavours of toast, chocolate, coffee, cinnamon and vanilla. Its
structure is most often dry, moderate to moderate plus body, moderate
to elevated tannin and moderate acidity - it typically ripens a little
ahead of the Caber nets so is often less exposed to disease.
Some of the dishes that suit this versatile var iety include: lean lamb
cuts cooked rare to medium, winter casseroles with borlotti beans and
usually any sort of protein including Chicken, Salmon and densely
textured fish. n
BY CAMERON DOUGLAS MS
Cameron Douglas is New Zealand’s
first and only Master Sommelier. He
is a Senior Lecturer at AUT University
in Auckland, local and international
wine judge, wine commentator
and wine educator as well speaker
and presenter in New Zealand
and internationally. Cameron is
also an examiner with the Court of
Master Sommeliers Worldwide. He
writes the wine lists for a variety of
establishments including Merediths,
Mekong Baby, Nanam Republic
and Michelin Starred New York
establishment The Musket Room.
Merlot is back!
TE AWA SINGLE ESTATE HAWKE’S
Earthy, masculine and toasty with aromas
of spicy oak and dark berries, clove and
vanilla spices, definitive complexity. On
the palate – an equal mix of dark berries,
spice, oak and earthy flavours; medium+
(ish) tannins, plenty of acidity, dry and
lengthy finish. Great balance and length.
Drink now and through 2028.
Distributor: Villa Maria Estate
Phone: (09) 255 0697
SILENI ESTATES HAWKE‘S BAY
SELECTION CUT CANE
Rich, ripe and dark fruited bouquet with
Doris plum, very dark cherry and some
blue fruit tones. Moderate to plenty of
oak scents with dark spice layers. On the
palate – very juicy, fleshy and soft, ripe
core of fruit mid-palate, a soft dried herb
layer, fresh lively tannins and acidity and
lengthy finish. Tastes almost sweet but
finishes dry. Drink now and through 2026.
Distributor: Sileni Estates
Phone: (06) 879 8768
56 | May 2017 | Hospitality BUSINESS
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