Dolbel Estate Merlot Cabernet 2008

Dolbel Estate Merlot Cabernet


A rich and vibrant garnet hue reflecting the concentration and intensity of wonderfully grapes.

Following the style of our 2007 Merlot/Cabernet there is an unmistakeable “French” element to the structure and texture of the wine but with a definite Hawkes Bay signature to the flavour and aromatics. Rich aromatics of black cherry and plum dominate with a cedary dimension from toasted French oak.
The wine shows a good volume of ripe and fine-grained tannins alongside a balanced natural acidity, rich mid-palate and great length. A concentrated and “masculine” style.

Over time, we expect the fruit to evolve toward more complex notes of liquorice and aniseed, rewarding careful cellaring for 8-10 years.

A great accompaniment to gamey or dark red meat courses.


2008 was an excellent growing season with settled weather over flowering ensuring an even fruit set. Warm and dry conditions through the remainder of the growing season resulted in another outstanding harvest with very clean, high-quality fruit. Our primary harvest criterion for these grapes is seed maturity. Once the seeds have developeded to a mature and crunchy texture with powdery tannins, we deemed the fruit ready for harvest. In 2008, this was at a ripeness of about 24 Brix for both varieties.


The wine was made using traditional French Bordeaux Winemaking techniques – long contact between wine, skins and seeds with careful aeration for tannin evolution and colour stabilisation.

The blend is 84% Merlot and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon – the Merlot providing the spiciness and flesh and the Cabernet Sauvignon providing masculinity and aromatic richness. The grapes were hand harvested at about 24 Brix and each variety fermented separately. Aeration, both during fermentation and during 14 months elevage in French barriques was used to soften and evolve (“melt”) the tannins.

Tasting Note (PDF)