Maker: McWilliams Hanwood Estate, New South Wales, Australia
Packaging: 750 ml bottle, natural cork
Our Rating: 9 out of 10
McWilliam's Hanwood Estate Merlot 2003 is the first we've tried of the extensive wine offerings from McWilliams Wines, and if this one is indicative of the rest of their line's quality, it won't be the last. This Merlot starts with a mild plum, cherry, and herbal aromas. The flavor is a bold mix of plum, spice, and oak, with smooth tannins and a lengthy finish. This is no wimpy Merlot - it will hold its own with spicy food or beef, and will serve equally well for sipping by itself.
The winery's website claims, "All the grapes were picked during the cool of the night, de-stemmed, lightly crushed and transferred to a combination of rotary and ‘headed-down’ fermentation tanks to extract maximum colour and flavour. A portion of the wine was barrel fermented in American and French oak barrels where it remained to mature for six months. "