Capital Wines Kyeema Vineyard Reserve Merlot 2011 (Canberra district)
13%, Screwcap, $48
I can’t think of many eastern Australian vineyards where Shiraz and Merlot grow alongside each other and the Merlot is the stronger performer – it just doesn’t happen.
Except at Kyeema.
This established vineyard on a granite hill to the east of the Barton Highway in Murrumbateman has a history of show-bling-attracting Merlot that dates back over 20 years. Andrew McEwin has a tidy knack with Merlot too, crafting smart wines even in cooler, more challenging vintages (like 2011).
Here we see a great example of that deft touch, delivering an acid driven, fresh and lively Merlot that manages to balance the dried herbs, black olive and mint of cool year Merlot with more than enough plum stuffing underneath. It’s still just a little light and hardly a rich and cosseting wine, but it feels graceful and fits into its groove perfectly, finishing with fine tuned tannins.
I tasted this over about 4 days and it was only really hitting at straps on day 3. Personally I’d give it two years to fill out. After that this should be genuinely charming.
Tasted: July 2014
Score: 18/20, 93/100
Would I buy it? Not quite yet. But love to share a bottle in 5 years time.