New Release Reds

Reviewed: 26th January 2014

The most interesting part of this tasting was the different expressions of merlot.  Two stand-out wines were the Bird in Hand Merlot and the Cumulus Merlot.  The Bird in Hand had all of the ripe, plump fruit that we have come to expect in a Australian wine.  Delicious, but with enough structure to handle time in the bottle.

The Cumulus on the other hand was structured, tight and a touch austere.  Destined to blossom with time in the cellar, this is more akin to a right-bank bordeaux than a “sunny” Australian merlot.

If you are after a cheap BBQ red, then the Tyrell’s and Angove will keep the in-laws happy this summer.


Bird in Hand – Merlot – 2012 (18).  Cedar, cinnamon and savoury spice on the nose.  The fruit on the palate is a standout, being bright and fresh, with delicious red berry flavours.  This finish is very long and fine, with real finesse.  An impressive wine that is a great each-way bet.  RRP $42.

Cumulus – Merlot – 2011 (18).  Opens with vanilla, cedar and cinnamon.  Whilst this is a structured wine that lacks a little joy now, there is excellent fruit quality and high quality, well-integrated oak.  This took a couple of days to open up and show its best, so give it some air.  One for the cellar.

Castelli – Tempranillo – 2011 (17.5+).  Firm, structured, dense and very closed right now.  The fruit is subdued, with firm acidity to close.  Chewy, with cooler fruit characters, this is an excellent rendition of this traditional Spanish variety.

Groom – Zinfandel – Bush Block – 2012 (17.5).  This has dense, chocolate and plum-like fruit with a touch of raisin.  Juicy and vibrant fruit, with admirable length.  The finish is slightly warm, but suits the style.  This will be a great winter red for those who like a BIG red.

Tyrrell’s – Cabernet Sauvignon – Lost Block – 2012 (17.2).  Cedar, spice and well handled oak on the nose.  Good length, though the dense, plum-like fruit is a little muted on the palate.  Given a bit of air, this will make a good mid-week quaff.  $10.

Angove – Merlot – Long Row – 2012 (17).  Amazing quality fruit for a wine of this price.  Whilst the fruit is quite soft and generous, there is decent structure, with bright acidity and firm tannins.  Hints of tobacco and spice to close.  Excellent value at $10.

Redbank – Merlot – Long Paddock – 2012 (16.5).  Plump and fresh, though not over-ripe or jammy.  Nice tannin structure, subtle oak, good length and reasonable persistence.  Good drinking, medium-bodied red that is fair value at $13.