The local renditions of the Bordeaux varieties often get overlooked and it's not surprising with Pinot Noir claiming supremacy in the New Zealand red wine stakes. There's four times as much Pinot Noir in New Zealand's vineyards, as there is Merlot, the next most popular planted red. In third place comes Cabernet Sauvignon, and plantings of that variety seem to be dwindling as Syrah plantings make a steep growth line on the graph.
So the grapes that inspired many of New Zealand's long time artisan winegrowers have lost favour to Pinot Noir, and why not when Pinot Noir grows so well here and the wine it produces is one that the masses understand and adore.
It was time for a 'Bordeaux styles' tasting and several wines made from Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec were poured. Not surprisingly most were Merlot Cabernet blends. But the wine that stood out – one of three five star awards, was labelled Cabernet Sauvignon, that's all.
Coopers Creek SV Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 is a deeply coloured, opaque, dark black red and is smoky, spicy and savoury smelling with rich berry scents, cedar and a touch of chicory. In the mouth this concentrated, ripe, juicy drop has a dark, smoky, earthy, dusty character with firm fine-textured tannins, savoury oak and succulent redcurrant fruit. The texture is creamy with leather and liquorice in the background and the finish is long and dry. A lovely wine that comes across as very refined.
Sealed with a screwcap, it has 13.5% alcohol by volume and price should range from $26 to $29. It's sister wine, the Coopers Creek SV Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Merlot 2007, won gold medals at the Hawkes Bay Wines Awards and the Air New Zealand Wine Awards in the last few months. Coopers Creek SV Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 didn't receive such gilded medals. It has a string of bronzes and a silver, as well as 4 stars from Cuisine, but in my blind tasting it was easily a gold-plated five stars. Perhaps all it needed was a bit more time?
This was a delicious match to mint marinated lamb cutlets cooked on the BBQ – a match that is highly recommended. We also had some Boerewors sausages, but these were incredibly salty and the match with the Coopers Creek SV Gimblett Gravels Cabernet Sauvignon 2007 was an absolute disaster. Take my advice and don't try it. But do match this wine to the Christmas lamb.
Coopers Creek has a website www.cooperscreek.co.nz and a Facebook page, and thankfully you don't have to sign up to Facebook and become a 'friend' to view it.
Other five star wines in my tasting were Sacred Hill Hawkes Bay Merlot Cabernet 2009 and Villa Maria Cellar Selection Hawkes Bay Merlot (Organic) 2009.
© Sue Courtney
20 Dec 2010