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Kingsley Tobin’s 2000 Cabernet Merlot possesses every bit as much breed, elegance, flavor and individuality as any classified Bordeaux. Upon first sip, Kingsley’s meritage blend recalls the Old World visage of St. Julien – Bordeaux’s quintessential claret. Immediately, the likes of Château Beychevelle and Leoville Las Cases spring to mind. Like its Bordeaux counterparts, the Kingsley Cabernet Merlot is deeply colored and heavenly scented, offering up beguiling aromas of blackberry, cassis, cedar and of course earth, which speaks of terroir, n’est-ce pas? Yet, plenty of pure fruit overlays this wine’s moderately tannic structure, with balance as the supreme result. In short, the Kingsley Cabernet Merlot is immensely interesting as well as plain delightful to drink. At last, a wine from the New World that enjoys the distinct signature of the land and climate from which it comes and the deft hand of it creator. Allow at least thirty minutes of aeration for optimum enjoyment.
The adage, “The better the wine, the simper the food,” has always been our philosophy when pairing food and wine. In the case of the 2000 Kingsley Estate Cabernet Merlot, we reaffirm that notion. Why allow hot or spicy foods to obscure the balance and finesse of a wine? Consequently, some of our favorite choices with this wonderful claret like wine are poultry: A simple roasted chicken, spit roasted squab, duck, and Cornish game hens all offer wonderful accompaniments to Kingsley’s royal wine. Filet Mignon and beef tenderloin afford equally fine choices. Delicate saffron infused risottos merit high marks, too. Enjoy!
It is no secret among wine drinkers that New Zealand fashions some very serious, if not outright fascinating wines. And what was once considered to be solely white wine country is now crafting world-class reds as well as whites. Yet, the question inevitably arises in iconoclastic minds as to the breeding of New Zealand wines, especially among wine snobs and those who see themselves as fundamentalist terroirists (those who believe that the land and microclimate alone determine a wine’s breeding and definitive quality). Invariably, the terroirist line of thinking neatly divides wine into two categories: New World upstarts, whose fruit driven wares reflect the bestial mark of technology, and their European forbearers, whose names, soils, and traditions are legendary and therefore better – the elect if you will. To the terroirist, only the latter can possess a soul and are worth savoring and cellaring. It is the classic good versus evil, them versus us, battle that the world is so fond of waging and our age is masterful at perpetuating. However, there is thankfully a voice in the wine wilderness that heralds a new day – and that voice belongs to Kingsley Tobin.
Kingsley Tobin, a tall imposing sincere man that comes across as equal parts mad scientist and prophet of old, is quite possibly New Zealand’s finest wine grower as well as its penultimate winemaker. His certified organic vineyard that sits astride the Gimblett Gravels, a true and outstanding terroir, is the most beautifully tended stand of vines we have ever encountered – anywhere. Moreover, all of Kingsley’s wines are made using biodynamic methods and, frankly, they put most Bordeaux wines and their so-called illustrious terroirs to shame. At the same time, they expose the delusion and often self-serving fraud that terroir alone makes great wine. Kingsley Tobin and his beautiful Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah based wine lend credence to both the existence and importance of terroir, without denigrating the significance of the myriad of choices a winemaker takes (not which the least is yield control) and his ultimate skill. All Kingsley Estate wines are made in tiny quantities from very low yields, often as low as one ton per acre or less. Who in Bordeaux can claim the same?
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