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Wine of the Week for week ending 18 Jul 2010
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Abbey Cellars Temptation Malbec 2009
Hawkes Bay, New Zealand

"Lead us not into temptation," says Mathew in the Bible.

If you are a Malbec fetishist, you better ignore that advice because when you taste this new release Malbec from Abbey Cellars in Hawkes Bay, temptation will be rife.

Abbey Cellars Temptation Malbec 2009 is a punchy ripper of a wine. Deep in colour - you call it a crimson violet hue - there are hints of chocolate on the nose and it's scented with red berries, roses and violets too. Soft seamless tannins caress the palate where chocolate joins creamy oak, bright red and purple fruits add a profound juiciness and there's a nice touch of spice to the savoury finish.

I came across Abbey Cellars for the first time at a New Zealand wine trade fair in Auckland in, probably, 2006 and while I've been impressed with the Riesling in the past, the reds have been just a little on the Bretty side for me. They seem to have come out of the darkness of the Abbey with this Temptation release - it's plush lush, ripe and clean and the best red I've tasted from Abbey Cellars to date.

The team at Abbey Cellars says that 2009 was an exceptional year and the best year ever for Malbec production. The grapes were grown in the Bridge Pa region of Hawkes Bay and after fermentation, the free run juice was pressed and transferred to French oak where it matured for 9 months. Temptation was born and delivered in 750ml bottles with screwcap closures.

Alcohol is 13% by volume and it costs $28 to $31 a bottle. Emma Lowe is the winemaker.

Abbey Cellars has a dramatic looking winery and cellar door. I must make a point of visiting next time I am down Hawkes Bay way.

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© Sue Courtney
14 Jul 2010

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