Church Road Merlot Malbec Cabernet 2012 (Hawke’s Bay, NZ)
13%, Screwcap, $25.99
The Church Road style has always been rather old school, with much of the wine still fermented slowly in some very well-used wooden cuves. The wines are welcomingly structured as a result, with the top Cabernet blends amongst the longest living wines in Hawkes Bay.
The base wines (red and white), however, have always looked a bit raw and rustic, with this 2012 no different. It’s not a bad wine by any means, but you can’t shake the feeling that this is cheap AC Bordeaux, complete with the hessian of old oak and a little horsy brett to match.
What rescues this wine from ignominy is the dry, firm tannins, which helps to give some charm and savoury drinkability.
Roughly hewn but not without intensity, this is a fair drink (though needs meat no doubt).
Tasted: June 2014
Score: 16/20, 86/100
Would I buy it? Not quite. Could drink a glass or so with a steak.