Te Mata Awatea Cabernet Merlot 2010 (Hawke’s Bay, NZ)
13.5%, Cork, $37
Source: Wine list
A blend of 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, 12% Cab Franc 6% Petit Verdot, built in a style that never really seems to change all that much.
You could argue that a lack of change is a negative thing, but then again, if it ain’t broke, then why fix it?
Indeed I shared a bottle of this red (with someone much prettier than me) last night at a wonderfully old school Sydney grill called La Grillade, the sort of establishment that has made it’s reputation on fully priced top end steaks and a wine list with only three red wine styles – Rhone reds, Bordeaux blends and a handful of Pinot Noirs.
The thing is that, like the Awatea, the food really revels in it’s old school simplicity. The steaks are superb, the souffle correct and delicious. This Awatea, too, is all about a certain simplicity that just works – a simplicity of dry tannins and extract that are really pretty attractive.
Actually, if anything, this looks a little bit more Merlot dominant in 2010, that edge of mint sauce over plums and a palate profile that looks a little fuller through the middle all pointing in a Merlot direction. There’s both a suggestion of roasted fruit and some skinniness on the palate, which makes me think the ripeness wasn’t quite even even though it doesn’t look unripe.
A good vintage for Awatea and a real red meat loving red, if not strictly a ‘great’ wine. My score is conservative as it really will look better with more bottle age. Really.
Score: 17.5/20, 91/100+
Would I buy it? I did. I wouldn’t drink without food, but it was lovely with my steak.