Capital Wines “The Backbencher” Merlot 2016


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I have to admit that I rarely buy Merlot. I taste many, but this was the first one I can remember buying in a long time. Canberra District might not be well known for this varietal, but this worthy example by Capital Wines shows superb varietal definition.

Creamy mushroom and zucchini fettuccine was on my dinner menu. The mushroom element of the dish provoked me to seek a wine with a bit of age, as the characteristics of a matured wine should mirror nicely with it. I like to label this link with a DIY gastronomic term – ‘the bridge’.

The plush and soft textures of quality Merlot are always great accompaniments to pasta. Even more so when there is a creamy sauce involved. The pistachio seasoning and zucchini of the dish linked with the cedar edge of the wine, and as it washed down, it revealed a gorgeous sweet blueberry finish. I actively sought the pistachio pieces in the dish. It was such a playful experience, teasing my taste buds in every mouthful with the crunchy textures evolving into plummy notes on the palate.

This merlot is smoothly textured and fresh. Tannins are round, polished and succulent showing great even ripeness (tannins are always a challenge for this variety when grown in cooler conditions). What I enjoyed the most in this wine is that it had back palate fruit weight. Many merlots can be charming, yet short on the finish. Capital Wines excels with this varietal. They have successfully produced a long and balanced example with dark cherry, chocolate powder and cigar complexities. This is a wine that speaks of great site selection and masterful winemaking.


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