Like many others throughout Australia's south-east, Mount Avoca suffered a disastrous 2011 vintage, losing all but a small amount of chardonnay and sauvignon blanc to floods and rain. Fortunately for Mount Avoca, their current release 2009 reds are of a high enough standard to warrant tasty consolation.
Although beautiful to look at with its vivid crimson hues, the nose of Mount Avoca's 2009 Merlot isn't quite so vibrant, as it just seems a bit closed now and in need of more time to open up. What is there reflects dark plums and cherry fruits, with a soft, slightly toasty, spicy vanilla oak influence laying a calm aromatic blanket over its fruit. Its palate captures merlot's supple aspects well and like Mount Avoca's other 2009s, it displays a pleasing brightness of flavour up front, this time revealing clear cut cherries and chocolate notes transcending into something much grittier, more savoury and rustic to finish, with a dry, baked earth-like aftertaste. A prominent structure, particularly by Australian merlot standards, assertively wraps up the whole package. It's tight, sandy and conclusively drying, with more than a fair whack of grit providing masculine grunt as well as a certain edginess.
ü An interesting, physical Australian merlot with structure and suppleness, which probably requires a bit more time to come together and show its best. It may not be in the same league as Mount Avoca's delicious 2009 Shiraz (92pts) or the highly thought of Cabernet Sauvignon, but then again, how many Australian producers could honestly say their merlot is equal to their cabernet or shiraz? Drink 2014-2019.