Last week we featured an Australian shiraz with what was aptly termed a candy nose, a term which surely must have raised some eyebrows and perhaps a guffaw or two. We're at it again this week, returning to South Australia, but this time to its Limestone Coast, for the 2009 Greg Norman Cabernet Merlot ($15 or less on local supermarket shelves), a wine with a classic jammy nose of concentrated (as in fruit preserves) ripe red cherry and blackberry, with maybe a smidge of cranberry.
These lush flavors continue on the palate, where cherry and blackberry are accented with a hint of cloves and warm spice. The intense flavors roll smoothly over the tongue from first sip through mid palate and segue into a medium-long finish structured by full round tannins.
The blend is mostly cab with just 7 percent merlot added for its velvet texture. Some grapes were fermented in steel and some in oak, yielding a harmonious balance of moderately lean and voluptuously fat. We'd pair this handsome red with a festive holiday standing rib roast or with roast duck, the carved breast accompanied by a rich confit of leg and thigh meat.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance writer specializing in food, wine and travel. For an index and archive of reviews, go to pictograph.com.