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"Just open the 1999 still holding up very well and exhibiting and the typical merlot characters "
1999 Petaluma Coonawarra Merlot
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- Cellar 4 - 5 years (2005-2006)
- Closure: Cork
There has been considerable debate concerning ‘over-ripe, dead fruit flavours’, and this has been sparked by the large number of reds that are appearing on the market at 14% plus alcohol by volume. In a recent conversation with Ron Laughton of Jasper Hill, he has expressed concern over criticism of his ’99 releases being over 15% alcohol by volume, and was very quick to dismiss the correlation between dead fruit flavours and alcohol content. Some producers in the Barossa, McLaren Vale, Pyrenees district manage to produce very alcoholic wines that have enormous palate weight but no length or depth of flavour. These wines are a bit like the ‘Incredible Hulk’ – all brawn and no brains. These are the dead fruit wines and tend to emerge from lesser years where high Baume is pursued over flavour. We’ve always said that big is not necessarily beautiful but on the other hand big can also be extraordinary. It’s very much up to the viticulturist and winemaker to ensure that high alcohol wines are not over ripe or jammy.
TASTING NOTE: Petaluma, together with Irvine Grand Merlot would have to be considered the two star producers of the variety in Australia. In a recent tasting of a decade of Petaluma Merlots (see www.nicks.com.au/petaluma_merlot/) we found that the flavour profile peaked at around the 5 year after vintage mark, and it was at this time that maximum fruit/bottle developed complexity seems to occur. Very deep crimson mauve colour. Superb perfumed nose of spice, confectionery, cedar and mulberry. The classic fruit profile of Merlot, without any hint of earth or truffle on the nose, however, they do make an appearance on the palate. Again, this is a refined style – none of the up front bravado that many Barossa and McLaren Vale wines display. This wine can be compared with your ‘classical dance company’, as opposed to the exuberance of say the ‘Sydney Dance Company’ – get the picture! Fine grained, firmish tannins support mulberry spice fruit flavours on the palate. Excellent length and finesse. The wine displays a very long aftertaste, with some peppery back palate flavours emerging. Another superb red from Croser. Cellar 4-5 years.