A wine out of the drinking box sets the scene for a fantastic evening.
A rich (say it slowly), deep (say it slowly) red (say it slowly) - gently caressing the mouth with its smooth (say it slowly), velvety (say it slowly) texture .... at the same time asserting its masterfulness with its powerful presence but in such a subtle (say it slowly), sensuous (say it slowly) way. There is a harmony to the wine - such a roundness and completeness that makes it an exceptional vinous experience five years after vintage.
Fruit is in the purple / blue /red plum/berry spectrum, there's a touch of spice with a hint of liquorice, a brightness from the underlying acidity and gorgeous sweet oak - such lovely integration of all the components.
It is Ngatarawa Glazebrook Merlot Cabernet 2004 from red wine country, Hawkes Bay. Neil picked up the bottle ages ago - so while it is not the current vintage - and it has the old gold label - it really is a beautiful wine to drink right now. It's a beverage wine if you want because on its own it is quite voluptuous and sumptuous and has supple tannins. It's a food wine too - with the right food of course. We matched it to a rare cooked pieces of fillet steak - in fact mine was so rare it had to go back into the skillet again. Chew the steak, sip the wine - you know it's a successful food wine when everything gels and the food becomes melt in the mouth sublime. This is such a ripe, dry, yet sweet-fruited wine and the steak makes the wine taste more savoury. Food is good, because it will slow the time the 14.5% alcohol takes to go to your head.
Surfing the net to find more about this wine, I find that 255-litre barrique of Ngatarawa Merlot Cabernet 2004 attracted a bid of $8,200 in one of the Hawkes Bay charity wine auction and was the top barrel bid. I wonder if the lucky bidders are enjoying their wine right now.
The cork-closed 2004 was released in early 2006 and price was around $24 a bottle - a bargain. Current vintage of Ngatarawa Glazebrook Merlot Cabernet is 2007 and it's listed as $25, so the price hasn't changed much in three years. 2007 has produced some stunning reds in Hawkes Bay and I am sure the Glazebrook is as terrific as I would expect from the label, but I haven't actually tasted it yet. I making a point of doing so soon.
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© Sue Courtney
10 Aug 2009