Mérite have made a name for themselves with merlot, but they are doing just as fine work with malbec, planting superior vine clones and giving a new window onto the variety. A typical varietal tussle of dark fruit is given a good deal of complexity with spice and herbal notes, a ruggedly tannic grip asserting both variety and a pleasingly classic Australian feel.
There’s a dark fruit play here, with blackberry, ripe boysenberry and bitter chocolate notes, a lift of bay leaf, dried mint and vanillin oak complexing, along with flashes of carraway and clove. There’s fruit intensity and generosity on the palate, but malbec has its say with a grippy cuff of tannins pulling that all in, giving this a classic Australian dry red feel, but with oodles of varietal personality and individual charm.
Themes of this wine
Malbec is a French grape that has become much more synonymous with Argentina, where it dominates the country’s vineyards. In Australia, malbec is typically blended as a minor component, but with better vine material and new thinking, malbec’s personality is emerging from the shadows. With a generally dark fruit profile of plums, dark cherries and blackberries, malbec can range from the deeply fruited and ruggedly tannic to more supple and silky expressions.
A region in South Australia’s Limestone Coast viticultural zone, Wrattonbully extends north from Coonawarra, running along the Victorian border. It shares many features with its more famous neighbour to the south, with terra rossa soils and a dominance of red grapes, with only 15 per cent of the vines given to white varieties. Also, like Coonawarra, cabernet sauvignon is king accounting for over 40 per cent of total plantings.