Posted on March 20th, 2008
Another Marks & Spencer wine that punches well above its weight and price level. This one’s a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc The first two are the standard Bordeaux grapes, the later traditionally blended in Bordeaux along with Carménère and Petit Verdot – grapes we don’t hear a lot about these days, but all six are often referred to as Bordeaux’s noble grapes.
So, before getting into how it tastes, it’s probably worth looking at the grapes in a little more detail to see what they bring to a wine when blended together.
Pretty much a common-as-muck variety, from the highly regarded and priced Bordeaux blends of the Médoc (left bank) to the cheap Chileans and everywhere in between.
Blends well with Cab. above and often seen on it’s own too. Made infamous in the film Sideways, when Miles says
No, if anyone orders Merlot, I’m leaving. I am NOT drinking any fucking Merlot!
A little harsh, but the film is credited with the explosion of Pinot Noir sales and corresponding demise of Merlot sales in the U.S.
Previously popular in Bordeaux, it’s now rarely seen outside Cahors (an area east of Bordeaux) and Argentina. I’d never heard of it grown in New Zealand. Dark coloured (“black”) and tannic.
On it’s own (as in Loire wines like Saumur or Chinon) it’s quite light, essentially a lighter version of Cabernet Sauvignon.
The other Bordeaux grapes (not in this wine)
Worth mentioning the other main Bordeaux grapes, though they’re not put in the Gimblett’s Gravel Red, Carmenère and Petit Verdot
Another grape we don’t hear a lot about. Used as a blender in France but now grown mainly in Chile, so much that it’s essentially “Chile’s own”.
This is a late ripener, often too late for Bordeaux, but it is added in small doses to give tannins and colour where it has ripened enough. I tried a straight Petit Verdot from Australia recently and it was pants.
And how did the Gimblett’s Gravel Red taste?
Dark black fruits with plum and a little spice going on, but held together in perfect balance. Absolutely delicious.