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Downes Family Merlot 2014

Downes Family Vineyards Merlot 2018

Out of stock

Reviews:

90 pts Stephen Tanzer – (no new oak): Good healthy dark red. Some distinctly herbal tones to the aromas of redcurrant, tobacco leaf, licorice and wood smoke. Surprisingly intense on the palate in a penetrating, savory style, with cherry, redcurrant, and tobacco flavors framed by brisk peppery acidity. In a distinctly Old World mold, but I can see this wine mellowing and deepening with bottle age. Finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and very good lift and length. Note that this is not the winery’s flagship Mount Bullet Merlot, but it’s very intriguing nevertheless.

Technical Notes

The grapes are picked from a small 3 hectare vineyard. The vineyard is divided up into 5 different parcels each with its own respective clone and these are all picked together for a 5 way clonal co-ferment. The bunches are chilled to 3ºC before being sorted on a conveyor and destemmed. Berries are hand sorted, before cold maceration ensues for 3 to 6 days at 8ºC. The 5 way clonal ferment is inoculated with a commercial winemaking yeast. Fermentation temperatures vary between 26 – 30ºC. After pressing, the wine is racked and left to complete its malolactic fermentation and maturation in old 4 to 5 year old French oak barriques for 9 months.

Styling

Considerable emphasis is placed on maximizing the different French and Italian merlot expressions in the vineyard but picked and vinified all together and matured in older French barrels before final blending. The wine has a fragrance of ripe red fruits such as plums and dark cherries, with earthy complexity and yet still expressing minerality. Maintaining a good acidity lends to outstanding freshness with a well integrated ripe and seductive tannin structure. Incorporating a minimal winemaking intervention approach, apart from the inoculated ferment and only two to three “punch downs” daily, retains silkiness and elegance.