93 pts James Suckling Top 100 2022 #43
An inviting nose of red cherry, plum, rose stem and baking spice. Medium- to full-bodied with fine, silky tannins. Lovely depth and intensity here, with layers of nicely ripened fruit blending with leafy herbs and savory spice. Very nicely balanced. Drink or hold.
93 pts Tim Atkin MW 2022
A wine that has benefited hugely from what David van Velden calls his “leaf roll eradication programme”, this is a dense, perfumed, structured Merlot made with a French and an Italian clone. Plum, cassis and dark chocolate flavours are framed by 20% new oak and underpinned by acidity and polished tannins. 2024-32
Merlot (94%) Cabernet Franc (6%)
This is the story behind South Africa’s first bottled single varietal Merlot. Upon discovering the Merlot vines he planted in 1973 were infected with leafroll virus, Braam van Velden set out to find healthy virus-free vines. After an extensive search, new Italian clone Merlot vines were obtained and planted in 1979. “Our first vintage from this block was in 1982. The wine was so impressive that we deemed it worthy to be bottled on its own. This also prompted us to extend the wine’s time in the small oak barrels to nine months, which was a long time in those days.” When the Merlot was bottled in 1983, it was the first single varietal South African Merlot on the market. There were many raised eyebrows: “I remember being asked why we were bottling a blending wine on its own.”
The Overgaauw Merlot is still made in its original ’Cape Claret’ style. David selects certain pockets within the vineyard that shows great fruit concentration and reflects the uniqueness of Overgaauw’s Merlot. It is a well-structured, medium-bodied wine with a rich combination of sumptuous black cherry fruit, hints of cocoa powder and elegant spicy oak notes. The fine but firm tannins are complemented by a mouth-filling fruity and lingering complexity. While this Merlot can be enjoyed now, it invites another 7 years in the bottle when it should reveal a pleasant surprise to those with patience. Decant this wine 30 minutes prior for optimum enjoyment.