Patina Wines, Jezza Cabernet Merlot 2016
The Bordeaux blend style of red is up there with the bestselling in the world; and for good reason. The blend benefits from the best attributes of each of the different varietals and is also capable of aging gracefully, making it a wine of many dimensions. And it’s also widely available thanks to the enormous size of the Bordeaux region – it covers an area of 120,000 hectares under vines and includes about 10,000 different wines made by about 7,500 different producers from about 60 different appellations (sub-regions). Stylistically there can be significant variation in features and taste depending on the origin of the wine as those from the “left bank” are primarily made on a cabernet sauvignon grape while those from the “right bank” and based on merlot.
Sadly, you won’t be able to scrape the loose change out of the ashtray to buy a good Bordeaux red as you don’t get much for less than $50 a bottle. If you want to experience the better blends from the more prestigious producers, you can expect to spend over $1,000 a bottle! So if, like me, you’re a disciple of the style but don’t want to spend a king’s ransom in pursuit of oenological happiness, it might be worthwhile looking to local regions who are making red blends from the same grapes. I’ve really enjoyed some Bordeaux style blends from the Yarra Valley in Victoria, but I recently stumbled across one from the Orange region in New South Wales which is a pretty good example of the classic blend.
The Patina Wines “Jezza” 2016 is made by winemaker, Gerald Naef, using a blend of 75% merlot, 17% cabernet franc, 7% cabernet and 1% pete verdot. The “Jezza” was first made in 2003 and is only made in exceptional vintages. Being based on merlot, it reminds more of a right bank blend but without the chalkiness or dustiness that we sometimes see on the finish of the real deal. According to the winemaker, he looks for “flavour, colour, freshness and good tannin structure” in selecting the grapes to use in Patina’s flagship red. The 2016 vintage enjoyed near perfect conditions, so the fact that the Jezza was thoroughly enjoyable shouldn’t be a surprise.
On the nose there were hints of cedar, cassis and fragrant violets, but once on the palate characters of hazelnut and blueberry emerge and meld with savoury nuances of roasted capsicum and saddle leather. It’s a fruit driven wine with plenty of ripeness and energy through the middle and a complexity that evolves as the flavours unfurl through an ever so slightly tannic and spicy conclusion. It’s still not what you’d call a budget friendly wine at the $65 price point, but much better value than buying something with the terms “first growth” or “grand cru” on the label!
The Patina version of the Bordeaux icon wine is just about the best wine I’ve tasted from the Orange region – and I’m a big fan or their sauvignon blanc and chardonnay, so that’s saying something!
Winery Website: www.patinawines.com.au
Travis Schultz is a wine reviewer for the Sunshine Coast Daily and The Grape Hunter extend their thanks to the Sunshine Coast Daily for allowing re-publication of his reviews