VARIETAL 100% Merlot
ALCOHOL 14,5 %
pH 3.53

We have not skipped a vintage of the black label Merlot, it must be the 22nd release of this wine and its always been one of our best selling wines in the portfolio. Merlot is our standout grape on the farm. Always good quality and good yields and even in tough dry vintages it seems to deliver. In the cellar we know exactly how to treat this exceedingly difficult grape. If you think Pinot Noir is the “heart break grape” you probably have never work with South – African Merlot. It is the grape that will exacerbate any mistakes you make in the vineyard and this is also quite true in the cellar. Vintage 2018 was challenging being right in the middle of the drought but we are incredibly happy to release this.
The grapes for this wine are all grown organically. We do buy in some selected fruit from two vineyards in Paarl and in Wellington. We use our younger vineyards for this wine. The rest of our Merlot will end up in Ladybird Red or in the “big brother” Claypot Merlot.
We pick everything by hand. Picking usually starts around the 20th of February and will end around the 10th of March for Merlot. We try to cool down fruit as much as possible. We do have an extremely strict, slow, sorting to remove all the green stems after the destemmer but before crushing. We hand remove and do around 2 tons per hour. Slow painstaking process but particularly important to get rid of all vegetal green material. We try to keep the alcohol level around 14% which is very much the “sweet spot” for our Merlot wine. The fermentation is done naturally, and we try to do a quick and warm one. Skin contact can be extended in some years and in some blocks depending on the vintage. All wine is aged for at least 12 months in French oak.
Deep dark colour. Blue and red berry aromas with some hints of “fynbos” and dark cocoa. Some lovely oak toast nicely complimented with hints of white chocolate. The palate is medium bodied with a good youthful grip and great palate weight. No green herbaceous or tin pea soup with this wine. Just a seriously good example of what this grape can achieved in SA. Enjoy 3 – 6 years after vintage.