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Tasted late in 2018, the 2016 Meerlust Merlot was already showing great approachability and charm. The dark fruit and opulence of the wine is immediately apparent. We have been refining the viticulture to produce more balanced, flavourful fruit. Intense dark brambly fruit on the nose, mulberry, liquorice and damson plum with hints of dark chocolate and spice, tempered by a stony minerality. The medium-full bodied palate offers generous, ripe, pure Merlot fruit with refreshing acidity, structured yet silky tannins and pronounced length and minerality. There is a core of juiciness, opulence and richness typical of the variety, while the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot lend greater complexity to the wine.
Selected from vineyards of 26 year old Estate-grown Merlot plantings situated on well drained yet clay-rich Oak leaf, Vilafontes and Klapmuts soil. 30% vendage vert (green harvesting cluster removal) at 60% veraison to ensure concentration and even-ripening. Leaves around the bunches were removed 3 weeks before harvesting to ensure physiological ripeness of the berries.
Grapes hand-picked & selected before crushing. Fermentation in stainless steel tanks with partial un-inoculated fermentation. Daily remontage for gentle extraction. A portion of the wine was given extended maceration on the skins for three weeks before pressing. Malolactic fermentation took place in 300 litre French oak Hogsheads. Maturation in 50% new Nevers French oak, 50% second fill Nevers for 17 months before bottling. The Meerlust Merlot 2016 is a blend of 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc for structure and acidity and 5% Petit Verdot which gives the wine a lifted floral aroma and polished, sleek tannins.
4 ½ Stars 2020 Platter’s South African Wine Guide
Both sombre & lively notes of spicy tobacco along with dark fruit on 16 (92 pts) – with dollops of cab franc & petit verdot adding as usual to complexity. Serious, richly flavoured, with sweet, bright fruit. Many years to go.