It’s value Cabernet Merlot time!
Today’s tussle pitches two traditional rivals – Margaret River and Coonawarra – against each other in a battle for value Cabernet glory. Both these players lie at similar pricepoints ($17 and $19 RRP respectively) and both come from well regarded vintages. The end result should be very close indeed….
Wine By Brad Cabernet Merlot 2008 (Margaret River, WA)
$17, Screwcap, 13.8%
|Back Label fun – by Brad|
Think what you may about the juice in the bottle, for what tends to attract the most comments about this wine is the characteristic comic book label, which features ‘Brad’ (Brad Wehr, winemaker/raconteur/SUP fan) himself alongside his long suffering partner Becky. It’s a label which seems to generate plenty of opinion, both for and against, with it attracting comments from anyone spotting it on my desk.
Personally I’d argue that it is absolutely appropriate and contemporary for the pricepoint, but others have referred to it as ‘daggy’. I’ll let you make up your mind.
The wine itself, thankfully, smells exactly like a proper Margaret River Cabernet Merlot – black pepper, licorice, blackcurrant, pink lamb and some proper Cabernet leafiness. Perhaps a light coating of oak, but otherwise no noticeable wood, just plenty of slightly diffuse berry goodness. Nice and fresh. Palate is fresh too – leafy, noticeable tannic and quite structured, built in a medium bodied, surprisingly firm mould. What I like here is that it is lightish and upfront, with no shortage of fruit, yet it’s still properly dry.
A fresh, attractive and user friendly expression of Margaret River red, this is hardly a heavyweight but it’s not priced like one either. What it does offer is authentic varietal/regional drinking for minimal dollars.17/90
Reschke Bull Trader Cabernet Merlot 2006 (Coonawarra, SA)
$19, Screwcap, 14%
I’m still yet to be seriously impressed by a Reschke wine, though that could be purely based around an impression from the cheaper end of the range. Still worth noting though (and on the subject, I would argue that Coonawarra reds are generally more variable than their Western counterparts too).
The wine itself look like it might have something over the Margaret River upstart, as it’s immediately darker than the Wine By Brad (WBB), redder and deeper in colour than the younger wine (though that means nothing really – wine colour is overrated after all). But that’s where the competition stops. It’s smells greenish, showing both under and overripe characters (to use an Oliverism) with a slight whiff of cabbage in with the caramel and red earth. Compared to the bright, aromatic, mildly herbaceous and firmly varietal WBB it’s a dull, weedy and unbalanced nose. Score 1 WBB
On the palate too it’s sadly lacking generosity, thin and faintly cooked with the dry tannins and lack of flesh making for a rather unrewarding drink. In fact, this barely puts up a fight for the positively exuberant WBB, finishing unbalanced and ordinary. (much like the Shiraz from last week actually). 15/83
Winner: Wine By Brad Cabernet Merlot
Cheaper, fresher, more varietal and with more contemporary packaging, this absolutely smashed the Reschke on every front. Well done Mr Wehr!
|Winner by unanimous decision – Brad!|