Circumstance Merlot, WO Stellenbosch - Boutinot

Circumstance Merlot, WO Stellenbosch 2019



Richly-flavoured and serious Merlot with class and concentration.

Meet the producer

Founded by Paul Boutinot in 2004, Waterkloof is a family-owned farm using organic practices. The farm is perched high...



Living soils and a natural approach to winemaking means that each of the single-varietal wines in the Circumstance range is truly defined by the circumstances influencing the chosen varietal and vineyard blocks, including soil, aspect, altitude and vintage. The Merlot is from two adjoining, windswept, south-facing (less sun exposure) blocks 240-260m above and a mere 2 miles from The Atlantic. These factors combine to produce low yields, balanced grapes and wines with a true sense of place. Production was a miserly 5 tons per hectare. Hand picked grapes were destemmed, hand sorted and placed into our open-top wooden fermenters via gravity. Natural fermentation started spontaneously by utilising the wild yeasts present on the fruit. Punch downs (twice a day) were used during fermentation to ensure a soft and slow, colour and tannin extraction. The wine spent 30 days on the skins to help integrate the tannins and stabilise the colour. The skins were separated from the juice through a gentle basket pressing. The wine went through malolactic fermentation in barrel and was then aged in new (15%), second and third fill French barrels for 18 months. The wine was aged for another year in wooden fermenters to ensure a wine with silky soft tannins. No fining and only sulphur added with no other additions.

Tasting notes

Warm, ripe fruit and cedary spice on the nose with dense cassis and bramble fruit aromas. Concentrated plum and berry flavours are nicely complemented by subtle oak characters, notes of bitter chocolate and firm but fine tannins. A satisfying, mature wine with character, structure and balance.

Food match

Garlic roast lamb, or venison roasted with root vegetables.