Downes Merlot is sourced from a three-hectare plot, divided into five parcels representing the five clones grown on the site. The nose is quite youthful with notes of light cocoa powder and light baking spice shading the dark red plum fruit tones with a touch of meatiness coming through as well. Medium fuller bodied and showing youthful vibrancy and freshness, the fruit tones are deep red and lifted, touched up with graphite with good acidity and a note of minerality, while the tannins are firmer giving good supporting grip on the backend. Still youthfully clinched this should really come together with a year or two more of bottle age where it should show well for several more years after that.
92 pts Tim Atkin MW
This is the most of Shannon’s three Merlots, but it’s still better than the majority of Cape examples of the grape. Produced from a co-fermentation of five different clones, this is like a scaled down version of Mount Bullet, with lots of color, refined tannins, a hint of oak and silky, granular fruit flavors. 2021-25