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Downes Family Merlot 2019

Downes Family Vineyards Merlot 2018

90 pts Wine Advocate May 2021

The 2019 Downes Family Merlot starts juicy and dusty with delightful layers of dusty plum, sour cherry and soft elements of juicy tobacco, hints of oak and a gentle display of pencil lead. Medium to full-bodied, the wine delivers a balanced structure with lifting tannins and succulent acidity, before flavors of black plum and dark cherry skin sway across the mid-palate. The wine concludes with a persistent tannic edge and lingering flavors of blackberry and spiced plum compote. 2021-2028

Technical Notes

Presenting the Downes Family Merlot 2019, a mesmerizing embodiment of elegance and vitality hailing from the renowned vineyards of South Africa. With each sip, experience the passionate tale of the Downes Family, their unwavering commitment to excellence, and the unmistakable charm of South African terroir. Nestled within the scenic folds of the Western Cape, the Downes Family vineyards are bathed in ample sunshine and cooled by the soothing maritime breezes, establishing an ideal sanctuary for Merlot grapes to thrive and express their full potential. The Downes Family Merlot 2019 is a tangible expression of our family’s dedication to the art and craft of winemaking, a pursuit marked by love, expertise, and the relentless aim to produce wines that are not only outstanding but are also true reflections of our unique terroir. This wine hails from the fertile valleys of the Western Cape, where vineyards are cradled by rugged mountains and bathed in radiant sunshine. Here, our Merlot grapes ripen to perfection, absorbing the nuanced flavors and spirited energy of this storied landscape.


The Downes Family Merlot 2019 captivates from the outset with its deep, alluring ruby hue and intoxicating aromas. On the nose, anticipate a delicate ballet of ripe black cherries, plums, and subtle hints of tobacco and sweet spice, weaving a complex and enticing aromatic profile. Upon the palate, the wine unfurls its rich tapestry of flavors, delivering notes of succulent dark fruits accompanied by whispers of vanilla and warm spices. The texture is silk-like, with soft tannins that caress the palate, providing a wine that is approachable, smooth, and irresistibly drinkable. The finish is graceful and persistent, with the lush fruit and spice notes lingering, inviting another sip, another moment of indulgence. This Merlot is a versatile companion to a wide variety of dishes, excelling alongside red meats, pasta, and cheese platters.

Technical Notes

  • Grape Variety: 100% Merlot
  • Vineyard Location: Western Cape, South Africa
  • Vineyard Management: Focused on sustainable practices to ensure the health of both vines and the surrounding ecosystem.
  • Harvesting: Grapes are selectively handpicked at their optimal ripeness to encapsulate the variety’s characteristic smoothness and fruit intensity.
  • Fermentation: Conducted in temperature-regulated stainless steel tanks, ensuring preservation of the grape’s intrinsic flavors and aromas.
  • Aging: The wine is aged in a combination of new and seasoned French oak barrels, imparting subtle hints of vanilla and enhancing the wine’s structural integrity.
  • Alcohol Content: 13.5% – 14%
  • Bottling: Undertaken on the estate to safeguard the wine’s quality and expressive character from vineyard to bottle.