Grapes are sourced from long-established vineyards on the Wellington/Swartland borders, an area of low rainfall with mainly decomposed granite soils. The vines are low-trellised and the grapes were picked mid-March. As we look for bright, juicy varietal fruit, the wine is supported by a very gently 10% oak for structure. Bunches are destemmed and placed in open top fermenters. Turbo pigeage is done 4 times daily (whilst up to half of the sugar is fermented), then only twice daily to the end of fermentation. Pigeage is a soft delicate way of wetting the cap and aerating the wine. Soft and fruity tannins is the wine goal. Malo-lactic fermentation follows. The wine is kept on the fine lees up to bottling.
The nose immediately offers summer pudding fruits and a blob of crème fraiche which follows through on the palate. Abundant, bright, cassis and fresh berry compote with a varietally leafy edge. Merlot can be tricky to get right so this proves to be delightfully vital yet generous and appealing.
Rich or spicy sausages such as Toulouse or chorizo. Lamb and roasted vegetable pasta are also favourites, all with a tomato based sauce.