Two brand new wines from the value skewed Zilzie operation, with these two wines representing Zilzie's first foray into purely regional wines. Judging by the quality of their basic offerings, it's of little surprise that these two Zilzie wines taste so very good.
Zilzie Regional Collection Merlot 2008 (Wrattonbully, SA)
$17, Screwcap, 14.5% Source: Sample
Obviously riper and softer than the Cabernet, this is mid purple/red in colour with a nose of plum & sappy red fruit, if punctuated by a slight green streak. Warm and very full on the palate, it tastes of obvious, good quality oak richness & dusty regional fruit characters, finishing with sweet alcohol heat and plenty of flavour. The only negative is that green edge, which I found a bit distracting and unbalanced. Still, this Zilzie packs plenty of bang for relatively little buck. Good wine, extra points for value. 16.9/89
Zilzie Regional Collection Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 (Coonawarra, SA)
$17, Screwcap, 13.5% Source: Sample
Side by side, this was an utterly unequal contest, with the Cabernet smelling every bit more fine than the Merlot, as befitting expectations. Life's tough for poor old Aussie Merlot.
An extremely young wine that smells and tastes its age, this Cabernet is more purple and dramatically deeper in colour than the Merlot, immediately showing up Merlot's inferiority on colour alone. From here, it's all rather impressive actually, with a nose that is quite distinctively Coonawarran, with cedar, blackberry and coffee oak, the fruit swallowing up the oak like fat kids with chocolate muffins.
The palate is even better - mid to full weight with the sort of richly oaked, yet utterly Coonawarran style that had me in the mind of Balnaves, which is great to see in what is basically a first release.
What I like the most (though I am a ripeness nazi) is that at 13.5% alcohol this tastes perfectly ripe, ageworthy and balanced, with no excess of ripeness or pointy green characters, just plenty of chewy tannins and fruit that tastes of the red earth it was grown on, polished with good quality (plentiful) oak.
An entirely impressive Cabernet, this lacks only the definition and power of the finest Coonawarra Cabernet, whilst comfortably weighing in at less than $20 a bottle. Winner. 17.6/92
Hoddles Creek Chardonnay 2012
1 hour ago