Downes Mount Bullet Merlot 2017

Tasting Notes

DISCLAIMER: In South Africa this wine is sold under the Shannon Vineyards label, but due to a trademark issue with Shannon Ridge Winery in Napa Valley, we’re obliged to market it in the US under the Downes Family label. You will notice that we’ve had a “Downes Family” sticker applied to the front label, in order to be compliant. (This can be peeled off easily, if you like, once you have received your wine) These are the lengths we go to, in order to bring you great wines like this.

Winery: Downes Family Vineyards
Varietal: Merlot
SKU: DOWMOUMER2017 Categories: ,
Bottle Size: 750 ml
Downes Mount Bullet 2017



Five Stars 2021 Platter’s South African Wine Guide

Always a big, sumptuous wine. 17 (96 pts) has 15% alcohol yet its fine integrated acidity & general balance add a lively lightness. The grainy tannins are firm but supple, the flavors rich & deep but there’s also restraint. Oak is obvious, but should integrate in time.

94 pts Tim Atkin MW 2020

Shannon Mount Bullet Merlot 2017 Elgin (15%) Picked comparatively early but still showing over 15% alcohol in 2017, Mount Bullet is typically plush and intense. Produced from five different clones, it’s brooding, tannic and concentrated, with a sheen of 30% new wood, sinewy, grippy tannins and enough acidity to freshen and lengthen the finish. 2022-27

92 pts Wine Advocate May 2021

Juicy and lush with a full nose of red, black and blue fruit tones, the 2017 Mount Bullet Merlot blasts out of the glass with juicy fruits, a delightful oak expression and gobs of complexity. Full-bodied, the palate is succulent and delivers notions of plum pie, blackberry reduction and chocolate-covered blueberries and cherries with a soft herbal essence. The wine shows a broad and expansive mid-palate with well-judged acidity and fine-grained tannins before concluding with generous, somersaulting flavors of juicy plum and vanilla crème brûlée that lingers with elements of crème de cassis and redcurrant. It’s an impressive wine that should last until its 15th birthday. Bravo! 2021-2032

Winemaker 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. The soil, trellising and canopy management is constant throughout the vineyard so it is the actual clonal characteristics that determine the different dates of harvest. Over the years we have learnt that there is as much as 11 – 14 days difference between picking the first clone to picking the last clone. The bunches are chilled to 3ºC before being sorted on a conveyor and destemmed. Berries are then hand sorted, before cold maceration ensues for 3 to 6 days at 8ºC. We try to naturally ferment 100% of the different parcels of grapes making up the Mount Bullet. Fermentation temperatures vary between 26 – 30ºC. After pressing, the wine is racked and left to complete its malolactic fermentation and maturation in (225L) French oak barriques for approximately 20 months using a blend of 3 Bordeaux cooperages. The oak used is of a tighter grain and medium toasted. New oak – 25%, 2nd fill – 50% and 3rd fill – 25%

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1 review for Downes Mount Bullet Merlot 2017

  1. Cary t Conrad

    I had the good fortune to tour the Shannon Vineyard in Feb 2023. Extraordinary vineyard and wines brought back a case and am buying more stateside. Thank you, Shannon Vineyard!

    • Libby G

      Libby G

      Thank you Cary, we agree, extraordinary vineyard, and extraordinary wines!

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