Lindeman’s Bin 40 Merlot 2012

lindemansbin40merlot2012The 2012 Lindeman’s Bin 40 Merlot is sourced from vineyards located in South East Australia, which is a hugh grape growing area that covers 18 different sub regions. Lindeman’s has been producing wine for over 170 years and is currently part of the Treasury Wine Estates group that also includes Rosemont Estate and Penfolds, along with several dozen other wine labels. The 2012 grape vintage is considered to be outstanding. Portions of this Merlot was aged on French oak for 4 months and the rest was aged in stainless steel tanks. This is a Merlot that sells for well under $10 (I found it on sale for $4.99), unless you buy it in Canada where it is $12. Wine Spectator gave the 2012 87 points. The alcohol content is 13.5%.

The color is plum red with an almost clear halo. The nose is interesting, a little cashew, some menthol, blackberry, fudge and French vanilla. This is a medium bodied Merlot, with a soft smooth mouthfeel. It tastes of blackberry, licorice, black cherry and plum, this is a fruit forward Merlot, but it is nicely balanced. The mid palate adds some vanilla creme, raspberry and a gentle slap of spice. The tannins stay out of the way and the acidity is well integrated. The finish is a mix of fruit and vanilla and is strong and long for a very inexpensive wine.

I had the Wine Manager for one of the largest wine bars in Chicago tell me to be on the look-out for Australian Merlot. Winemakers in Australia got into some trouble because they put all their eggs in a Shiraz basket and when Shiraz/Syrah hit a downturn, the whole industry took a tumble. They are trying to diversify and the Merlot grape does really well in Australia. Word is slowly getting out about Australian Merlot and in the meantime, since there isn’t a great demand for it yet, prices are relatively low. The Bin 40 is not a fancy Merlot, by any means, but it is remarkably well rounded for such an inexpensive Merlot. I paid under 5 bucks for this wine and in a blind tasting you would never pick the Bin 40 as a super cheap wine. It has loads of flavor, good structure, pleasant mouthfeel and a lengthy finish, which is basically the definition of a good wine.

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Don’t tell anyone, but there is absolutely no correlation between the cost of wine and the quality of wine.

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