Radburnd Cellars Merlot Cabernet 2018

Radburnd Cellars Merlot Cabernet 2018

A Hawke’s Bay blend, with 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, the fruit coming from Bridge Pa and the Gimblett Gravels. Hand picked, treated gently with careful sorting and cold soaked before a cooler ferment. Using medium toasted French barriques, a mix of new and one year old oak.

Bright and inkily dark claret, aromatic with bay leaf, crushed fennel seed, chamomile and plum. Elegant and nimble across the palate, with refinement rather than density, showing good tension and poise. The Merlot sets the tone – with long lines of fruit – first: elderberry, redcurrant and damson, then enhanced with the vivid opulence of the Cabernet.

Layers of spiced fruit, mocha, sweet soy and cassis. Medium acidity gives great flow around a supple spine of fine-grained tannin. Oak is in balance – subtle but enriching, vanilla and toasty. A glossy texture shows deeper into the layers, the glass finishing ripe and persistant. 95pts. Should cellar for 12-15 years.

Radburnd logo on lid

Winemaker Kate Radburnd has a website with the catchline “Kate’s Best”, which sums up her new venture, where every component is considered and carefully nurtured, selected and ensured it matches that ethos. From vineyard, grower, cooper, technique, and presentation – it all has to fit into this precise attention to detail and commitment to excel. Bravo to see that one of most established names should be still discovering, learning and striving for improvement at every turn.

I spoke to a colleague recently and we discussed that our grandchildren will probably be seeing and drinking even greater wines from New Zealand than we will see in our lifetimes. Consider that many of our wines are already world class, and you can see where a trajectory of improvement could deliver us. Wines like the Radburnd Cellars Syrah, and this Merlot-based wine, will be part of our current legacy, paving the way to that future.

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