Wine: Gemtree Vineyards Tatty Road Red Wine
Grapes: Cabernet sauvignon (50 percent), petit verdot (30 percent), merlot (15 percent), cabernet franc (5 percent)
Region: McLaren Vale, Southern Australia
In the glass: Gemtree Red Wine is a deep blackish-purple color with a completely opaque core going out into a dark violet rim definition with ultrahigh viscosity.
On the nose: There is tremendous classic creme de cassis at first, opening up to reveal layers of black cherry confit, dark chocolate, mocha, violets and phenolics. It has a lovely touch of raspberry sorbet as well, with underlying earthy streaks of minerality and berry cobbler coming through, and hints of American oak.
On the palate: The wine is lush and round with great fruit delineation and laser-focused on the black currant notes from the cabernet sauvignon, again very classic, but it has a mouth-feel that is New World with its intense, concentrated black fruit medley, phenolic "heat" and vanilla from the oak. The midpalate is juicy and ripe right through the finish, which again shows nice concentration of fruit and a fine length, leading me to believe this is an overachieving wine for the money.
Odds and ends: Gemtree Red Wine is a tasty, true bordeaux blend from one of Australia's most exciting appellations. The 2006 vintage was very successful, especially for cabernet down under, and I thought it refreshing to have an Australian wine that is not always a big burly shiraz. Virtually no one in California would be able to deliver this level at this price. Try it with creamy pasta, because it has the muscle to cut through the carbs and fat. Drink it now through 2011.
Gil Lempert-Schwarz's wine column appears Wednesdays. Write him at P.O. Box 50749, Henderson, NV 89016-0749, or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.