Canberra cabernet wins five trophies

Graeme and Ann Shaw, Shaw Vineyard Estate, Murrumbateman, NSW, part of the Canberra Wine District

Shaw Vineyard Estate Canberra District Merriman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 $65

When Australia rode on the sheep’s back some of the finest merino wool grew on Merriman family land around Murrumbateman, New South Wales.

The district remains a producer of fine wool, but shiraz now gives Murrumbateman an international reputation, earned initially by Clonakilla’s benchmark shiraz–viognier.

What then are we to make of five trophies won not by shiraz, but by cabernet sauvignon grown on the old Merriman property?

Graeme and Ann Shaw’s flagship red, Merriman Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, won three of its five trophies at Australian cool-climate wine shows and two more at the 2018 International Wine Challenge London.

While it’s fair to say the cabernet line-ups in the Australian shows were limited. But the London event – where the judges awarded Merriman a trophy as best Australian cabernet – included gold medals to heavyweight rivals Lindemans St George Coonawarra 2015 and Wynns Coonawarra Estate Harold 2013.

That result alone makes Merriman worthy of a close look, if not to declare cabernet a serious rival to shiraz in the Canberra district. The wine’s a deep, brilliant, crimson colour; the aroma and palate both show the ripeness and depth of the exceptional 2015 vintage – one of those rare seasons where flavour depth and ripe, firm tannins coincide. French oak adds another harmonious dimension to the substantial wine’s flavour and structure.

Copyright © Chris Shanahan