If you’ve been here before you may have noticed that I have a kind and generous wine fairy. Similar to a fairy godmother, but instead of making all your dreams of prince charming come true, it’s wine that you get to kiss and cuddle.
Several weeks ago I got a call that a selection of other reds would be dropped in my lap to taste. I knew nothing of brand, style or price – just that I should expect a selection of other reds. It was a colder day. I was wrapped up in at least a few extra layers and so my expectations turned to some real woodsy winter warmers.
Instead I got a selection that was far more light and fruity than expected. Although it’s not what I thought I would be tasting, I wasn’t in the least disappointed. The 2012 trio of reds from Black Barn Vineyards in Hawke’s Bay were nothing if not interesting.
Black Barn’s focus is on making premium Bordeaux styled red varieties, like the Merlot dominant blend described below. But they also have in their portfolio of wines a Spanish-style Tempranillo and an Italian-esque Montepulciano.
Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc 2012 (RRP $28.90)
58% Merlot 25% Malbec 17% Cabernet Franc |
12.5% alc/vol | aged nine months in 18% new French oak
This wine is exceedingly dry. It opens with bright red fruits, but that burst of freshness is short lived as it’s overtaken by a more savoury character. A clean, clear medium cherry colour the wine has a vibrant nose with notes ranging from red currants and violets to mushrooms, musk and sandalwood with a touch of pepper. High sharp tannins paired with medium acidity and medium bodied the palate of the blend takes on a sawdust-like feel along with plenty of nutmeg, black currant and cherries. The Merlot Malbec Cabernet Franc is pretty full on and jumps around a lot in an attempt to express all of the varieties in play. An interesting wine to contemplate.
Montepulciano 2012 (RRP $38.90)
95% Montepulciano 5% Malbec |
12.5% alc/vol | aged eight months in 25% new French oak
This is a lively, fruit-forward wine with a pale cherry colour and soft, round tannins. There is plenty of tart, juicy plum and candied cherries on the nose along with an array of spices including punchy black pepper, and sweeter notes of cloves, star anise and cinnamon. On the palate many of these characteristics were repeated along with a touch of earthiness. With such a long list of descriptors I did liken it to a good natured eccentric. This medium bodied and medium acid wine is bright and cheery.
Tempranillo 2012 (RRP $48.90)
100% Tempranillo |
12.5% alc/vol | aged eight months in oak
This is a very low-production wine that is, unfortunately, available only at the cellar door. Shortly after doing this tasting Black Barn were in Wellington for the Hot Red Hawke’s Bay wine expo, I went for a second taste of this spicy and fruity Tempranillo, but alas there just isn’t enough made to be splashing it around.
The wine had intense fruit flavours mixed with spice and earthiness. On the nose and on the palate this wine is bursting at the seams with strawberries and vanilla. The secondary characteristics of tobacco and leather have yet to arrive. Good body, medium – firm but round – tannins and low levels of acidity with a nice hit of dried herbs on the finish. This is the kind of wine where I would definitely go back for seconds.