Saturday, January 07, 2006

On a mission... WBW 17 - 1998 NZ Mission Estate Cab Merlot

1998 Mission Cab Merlot

This month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday came from the Corkdork, and he asks us to come up with a Kiwi Red. Perfect. I’ve got a couple of those. Too bad today is Saturday rather than Wednesday. I’m behind the curve. Ah well, I’ve been busy. Lenn, WBW was a great idea, but Wednesday is a ‘school’ night! :-) (Actually, it was the night that Texas was playing in the Rose Bowl and all attention in Austin was on football!)

If I’d had to look around a bit for a red from NZ in the Austin area, what I’d been able to come up with would have been pretty limited. Sigh. Don’t even think of going to your average grocery. I pulled in to Grapevine market today – and oh what an awesome weather day it was here in Austin today. Top down weather - and I mean the car! Oh, sorry, back to Grapevine and the point. Funny, they were in the midst of an inventory and their stock was as depleted as I’ve ever seen it. They had a few Sauv Blancs from NZ, but otherwise nothing.

I had intended on heading down to Central Market anyway for the stuff I can’t usually get elsewhere and I looked around there a bit too. Mind you, I had this Mission Estate already sitting out but I was out and about anyway and figured why not look at what the offerings were. Better, but not much. They did have, however, one Hawkes Bay Cab/Merlot blend. I didn’t buy it.  

So the Mission Estate Cab Merlot I had set aside was going to be it. Click the image to follow the link to the winery site. I really liked this wine. You don’t see the Cab/Merlot blend done much in this neck of the woods, but it seems to be a popular choice in NZ, and Australia for that matter.

Ah, ok, the wine. It’s 77% Cabernet Sauvignon and 23% Merlot and was on French oak for 22 months. The opaque purplish red wine had a sharp note of cedar on the nose. Tannins were firm but balanced along with a fruity, dark berry taste with a full body and long finish.

In some ways, the wine in this case is almost secondary for me. What? Yes, beyond the wine, drinking this wine evoke memories of a place I really enjoyed visiting. Napier, in the Hawkes Bay area, is just a pleasant little town. It sits on the east coast of the north island of New Zealand and I found it to be a wonderfully livable place to be. I was there for only a short time, but I’d go back. And I’d stay longer and just hang out. There aren’t really a lot of tourist attractions – unless you like wine and small town life –but this is the sort of place I could get used to. I stayed at the Seaview Lodge, which is essentially a home stay B&B. The host was very helpful. In fact, he pointed me to Mission Estate winery. If you get there too, I’d love to hear about your experience.

Bonus pic: click the wine bottle shot above to link over to Mission Estate. Click here for a shot I took January 2005. Compare the two and you’ll get some perspective. Oh, and as you can see, it was raining the day I was there. 

I don’t remember what I paid. Bought at the winery and it was just one of the favorites I tasted that day.
 typifies the sort of thing I like so well I can’t do anyting other than give it 3 glasses. I’d buy or have one of these every day.

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At 9:39 AM, Blogger jens at cincinnati wine said...

That's the beauty of wine. Many times it's not what's in the bottle, it's the people and the surroundings that are memorable. I will keep my eyes open for Mission Estate.

jens at cincinnati wine


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