De Grendel Merlot 2016 & Anina Meyer’s Chicken, Bacon & Potato Tray Bake – 18.10.2017

De Grendel Merlot 2016

De Grendel Wine Estate & Restaurant is constantly in the news with a wine that has won an award here and there, and today, the Estate’s eponymous restaurant has won an Eat Out Highly Commended Award for the Best Country Style Category. Such an affirmation for Ian Berg, Executive Chef, Sous Chef Conrad van den Heever, seen below with Elana Afrika, personality of note.  Today we are looking at the De Grendel Merlot 2016 as our wine of the day. If you are close by, Ian’s menu has many has many offerings which would match this wine perfectly.

Conrad van den Heever, Ian Berg & Elana Afrika

The 12 to 15-year-old vineyards are on the slopes of the Tygerberg facing Table Mountain and Table Bay. The produce an even handed 5 to 7 tons per hectare. One of the regular practices of Charles Hopkins, the founding Cellarmaster of De Grendel is to ferment the grapes first in stainless steel tanks.  He uses an aerated pump over by pumping the fermenting juice over the skin cap four times a day for one hour periods. After fermentation, the grapes were pressed and then the wine allowed to settle out three times to ensure a clear wine going for 13 months into the French oak barrels, half of which were new and the balance a selection of previously filled barrels.  The wine was then prepared for bottling.

Merlot grapes ripening on the vine

It looks like
Bottled under a superior screwcap in a Bordeaux shaped bottle with the usual elegant De Grendel livery. In the glass, a gem bright bloodplum at the core which pales out to ruby garnet at the edges.

It smells like
As one would expect, a mass of ripest of plums with the gentle acidity of raspberries. Chocolate, cherry tobacco in undertow.

It tastes like
Sweet fruited from entry to tail. Full palate with bright fruit and understated soft chocolatey tannins going in to the long aftertaste which ends in a soft cloud of charcuterie.

Anina Meyer’s Chicken, Bacon and Potato Tray Bake

It’s good with
Merlot is the go-to wine if you want a soft easy to drink glass. People often say ‘easy drinking’ is damning a wine with faint praise, but for me easy drinking is good. Merlot also works well with food, red meats, grilled, roasted, casseroled or braaied. It works well with vegetarian dishes. Surprisingly it works well with the unexpected foods like chicken. Anina Meyer’s Chicken, Bacon and Potato Tray Bake, is a great match. Click here for her recipe.

Anina Meyer

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