McLeish Estate sits proudly on the same strip of Terra Rossa (red earth) that is synonymous with the production of great Cabernet in Coonawarra - the exact same vein that Lakes Folly Cabernets draws its unique character from. Bordeaux varieties of note are few and far between in the Hunter, though this vineyard's affinity with Merlot and Cabernet is far more compelling than its Shiraz releases.
Medium weight when poured - crimson from centre to rim. The 2015 vintage saw early rains, and some challenging red winemaking. Hand-picking ensured fruit was properly sorted.
There's subtle spice and roasted coffee beans in the aromatics. Time open, and swirling in the glass, reveals more interesting layers - red fruits and savoury notes.
I find charm in this wine, though it is unlikely to please those that buy cheaper merlots. It is a subtle style - confident in its bantamweight frame. Devoid of the mid-palate weight and tannin usually sought by lovers of riper expressions of the variety. It speaks of vintage; variety and vineyard.
Drinking window - 2017 - 2020
Price - $30 - Cellar Door
Closure - Screwcap
Alcohol - 13.5%