While there were no spikes in heat during the 2017 vintage, the weather was hot during the day at the time of the worst drought in living memory. The nights were cool, assisted by the breezes of the Benguela Current passing by about 7 kilometres away. Positive conditions for a superb harvest with great flavour concentration and a charming acidity. Merlot is back in a major way having been a stepchild only used for blending. The De Grendel Merlot 2017 Is a perfect expression of the grape and of the vintage. The ages of the vines vary from 13 to 16 years and delivered an even handed 7 to 8 tons of grapes.
The grapes for the De Grendel Merlot 2017 were hand harvested and taken to the cellar for destalking, crushing and fermentation in stainless steel tanks. During fermentation the ‘aerated pump- over’ method was used to gently pump the fermenting juice over the skin cap four times a day for one- hour periods at a time, this helps to extract colour, aromas and flavours and soft tannins. After fermentation the wine was pressed, racked and matured in French oak barrels of which a third each were new, 2nd and 3rd fill. After this, the wine was prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with a superior screw cap. The label is classy, simple and elegant. In the glass, the wine is an opaque bloodplum at the heart which pales out to garnet at the edges. The aromas are perfect Merlot and are repeated on the palate. Lovely sappy ripe bloodplums, soft dried currants and tart fresh red berries. There is the supporting oak with its concomitant spices, roadside fennel and cherry tobacco. This wine is a laster and will, if cool cellared, last for another 5 to 8 years.
Ian Bergh the Award-Winning Chef at the De Grendel Restaurant offers Crumbed wild mushroom, red pepper pesto, charred broccoli, parmesan as his choice for the De Grendel Merlot 2017. Nic van Wyk’s Liver in a Sour Sauce is a perfect match for this wine. A family heritage dish, delicious. Click HERE for his recipe.
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