Main Divide Merlot Cabernet 2018 is made in the style of a Bordeaux claret and the blend in this vintage comprises 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Malbec added for its colour, lush fruits and structure. 2018 was a hot sunny vintage and, although heat can be a challenge for winemakers, it can also lead to a wine of remarkable complexity and depth like this one due to optimal grape ripening. On the nose, this wine delivers notes of dark fruit with hints of caramel, black pepper and subtle oak. The palate follows through with flavors of sweet, ripe black fruits, such as blackcurrant and blackberry, plums and cherries. The fruitiness of Main Divide Merlot Cabernet 2018 makes for a very rounded mouthfeel and as you taste the wine more flavours emerge – savoury notes, spices and a touch of chocolate – on a lengthy finish. There is a vibrancy to the wine from the mouth-watering acidity that prevents the fruits being too sweet and overpowering and provides the wine with great structure and longevity. The smooth tannins, complexity and intense flavours make this a very soft, approachable wine now but it will continue to evolve for a few years yet though I suspect you won’t be able to resist drinking it now.
Main Divide Merlot Cabernet 2018 is from the Main Divide range of wines crafted by Pegasus Bay to “produce wines that reflect the unspoilt freshness, purity and cool climate of the south, while retaining in each its individual regional and varietal character”. Grapes come from their own Main Divide vineyards and from vineyards specially selected for their terroir and grape quality that are owned by other growers with whom Pegasus Bay works closely. Pegasus Bay’s main wines, like their gorgeous Pinot Noir, are solely from Pegasus Bay vineyards. Main Divide wines are considered by many wine reviewers to be snapping at the heels of Pegasus Bay’s main wines despite being their “second” label and therefore to represent great value. Main Divide refers to the southern Alps that form the backbone of the South Island of New Zealand.