Monday, March 15, 2010

Cabernet Sauvignon + Merlot = ?

My favourite wines. Cabernet Sauvignon and merlot are really a match made in heaven. Cabernet Sauvignon adds tannin, acid (structure and personality), while merlot adds body and fruit (elegant flavours and gentleness) to the the wine. The wine is often very complex and can be aged for decades. The best way to understand the blend is to taste a cabernet, merlot, and their blend side by side.

Premium Regions:

Bordeaux: This is undeniably the best region for cabernet-merlot blend. Several appellations produce wine that retails at thousands of dollars a bottle. I happened to be fortunate to attend a private wine tasting event featuring a bottle of Petruvs. The perfume aroma was surreal and has been permanently etched into my memory. It was worth every penny. I will spend at least another two posts on Bordeaux. Generally, any wine labelled Bordeaux is good, but the wine can be quite pricy. Moreover, bordeaux needs to be aged at at least a few years before the flavours to start maturing.

Napa and Sonoma Valley in California: These two regions produces better and better wine every year. When the 2003 Insignia won the best wine of the year award, it ruffled more than a few feathers. Bordeaux has competitions! I have tasted countless cabernet-merlot blend from California between $30-60 that are better than Bordeaux of the same price range. For Vancouverites with easy access to the border, Californian wines come with a better price tag and availability. In fact, majority of my wine cellar contains wine from Napa, such as the Insignia.

Hawkes Bay in New Zealand: This region would be win the bronze meddle for the cabernet-merlot blend. If currency is on your side, you can find some really good bottles at bargain price. These typically have medium or high acidity and tannins with herb aromas (cedar, blackcurrant a leaf)

Australia produces some good blend, especially around Margaret River. It's also a buyer's market for Australian wine right now, but there are a lot of nasty wines out there. I will post about it if I stumble upon some.

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