International Merlot Day & I look at Asara The Vineyard Collection Merlot 2017 with Dianne Bibby’s Roast Butternut & Lentil Bobotie…

Asara The Vineyard Collection Merlot 2017

Today is International Merlot Day and I feel I should pay homage to Asara The Vineyard Collection Merlot 2017. Merlot is a French name for a small Blackbird. For some time, this Polkadraai Hills Estate, in the western parts of the Stellenbosch Wine Appellation, has produced premium quality Merlot. The folding hills offer different aspects, altitudes and soil types. The 14-year-old Merlot Vineyards are planted in Tukulu soils. Planted on a crest, the vineyard receives a generosity of sunlight with afternoon breezes from False Bay ameliorating the summer heat. The deliver an even handed 8 tons per hectare.

Merlot grapes ripening on the vine

After hand harvest at dawn, the grapes for the Asara The Vineyard Collection Merlot 2017 are chilled overnight to preserve the fruit flavours and aromas. Destalking and crushing take place and both alcoholic fermentation and malolactic fermentation take place in stainless steel tanks.  Medium toast French oak is used to mature the wine, 10% of these being new 225 litre barriques and the balance in 2nd and 3rd fill. The wine is prepared for bottling after 14 to 16 months.

The Asara Barrel Cellar

Pour
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle under natural cork. The Classical Asara elegantly simple label adorns the bottle. In the glass, the Asara The Vineyard Collection Merlot 2017 is a deep bloodplum red at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges.  The aromas are all about red berries, cherries and plums. From entry, the wine, though dry, tastes of sweet layered fruit. Juicy with cashmere clad tannins, refreshing acidity and concentrated fruit all interwoven in the aftertaste.

Dianne Bibby’s Roast Butternut & Lentil Bobotie

Pair
This is a food wine, and I think of rich beef or lamb casseroles as perfect partners. Dianne Bibby provides her delicious recipes for my trip through the Asara Wines. Dianne Bibby’s Roast Butternut & Lentil Bobotie is a vegetarian riff on the classical South African dish. Click here for her recipe.

Quick cuppa for Dianne Bibby between dishes

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