Mission Hill Family Estate, Compendium, Okanagan Valley, 2008, 14% abv, $50

At 43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petit Verdot, this classic Bordeaux blend or Meritage (rhymes with ‘heritage’) has been hand harvested and sorted and gravity fed into small French oak fermenting barrels.

After fermenting for four weeks, the free run wine and some lightly basket pressed wine was aged separately in 100% French oak barrels for 15 months.

The Cabernet Sauvignon grape that forms the backbone of this wine is one of the most renowned, but is actually a relative ‘newcomer’. It’s the offspring of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc and didn’t really impact Bordeaux’s vineyards until the end of the 1700s when it was introduced to the Medoc by Baron Hector de Brane, once the owner of Ch. Mouton and his neighbour Armand d’Armailhacq. Prior to that time much of the Medoc had been a swamp, but the Dutch drained it and subsequently vines were planted there.

Rivalled only by Merlot for number of red grape plantings around the world, its flavours and aromas (marked most by blackcurrant and green pepper – just like each of its parents) do best in gravelly soils and produce famous examples in Medoc, Pessac-Leognan, Napa, Sonoma, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Bolgheri, Coonawarra, Margaret River and Penedes.

Even in what is considered its French homeland on Bordeaux’s Left Bank, Cabernet Sauvignon is difficult to ripen and that’s why a mixture is planted alongside it – including Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and often Malbec (aka Cot) and/or Carmenere. After all, if your Cabernet Sauvignon doesn’t ripen as well as it should, one can always rely on a combination of the other grapes to pull through and the blend can take on a more Right Bank (Merlot based) feel if necessary.

While Cabernet Sauvignon supplies the wine’s framework, colour and tannin, Merlot offer plumpness, fruit and is early ripening (compared to much later for Cabernet Sauvignon). Petit Verdot lends spice and ripens even later, while Cabernet Franc supplies blackcurrant flavours and perfume to the wine.

Clear and bright, deep ruby red with legs showing, this wine has developed medium plus aromas of cassis, blackberry, liquorice, dry leaf, baking spice and vanilla.

The palate is dry with medium plus alcohol and medium plus acidity. The tannins are medium plus and velvety with the slightest hint of grip. With medium plus body, the medium plus flavour characteristics are reminiscent of ripe blackberry, cassis and dark Damson plum, leather, tar star of anise, black pepper, clove and vanillin.

This is a ‘very good’ WSET wine. The fruit is bright, full and refreshing and in balance with the velvety tannins that will enable this wine to age a good 5-8 years more. Enjoy as we did with bbq steak, red rice and quinoa and heirloom tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella, fresh pressed extra virgin olive oil and basil.


About winellama

I love wine...and finally decided to do something about it.
This entry was posted in BC, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon / Blends, Meritage, Merlot, Petit Verdot, RED. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s