As a young boy, I used to ride around the Durbanville Hills where many of my friends’ parents were wine farmers like mine. Some of their descendants today are amongst the quality grape producers for the Durbanville Hills Winery where founding Cellarmaster Martin Moore and his team turn them into sublime wines.
For the Durbanville Hills Collector’s Reserve, The Lighthouse Merlot 2016 vineyard block selection as done, linked to wine style and quality, always quality. Most of the grapes for this wine came from an 18-year-old vineyard on the open western side of the valley. Here the vines develop small canopies, which prevents the green flavours in the wine linked to green and vigorous canopies. The soils are deep Hutton with a high clay content which retains moisture, so the vines were not stressed during ripening. The balance of the grapes came from a south facing vineyard. This vineyard traditionally delivers grapes with strong mulberry flavours.
Once hand harvested, the grapes are taken to the cellar where the bunches are destalked, and the grapes sorted over a sorting table. The juice was left on the skins overnight to settle. In the morning up to 15% of the juice was run off to increase the ratio of skin to juice, this adds a greater complexity to the final wine. During fermentation continuous timer- regulated pump-over cycles, in combination with compressed air and regular manual punch downs on the smaller bins, were used to extract maximum fruit, tannin and colour. Maturation took place in a combination of new and second fill tight grained French oak barrels over a period of 14 months. The wine was then prepared for bottling by Wilhelm Coetzee, the Winery’s Red Wine Maker and his team
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is a design by well-known Cape Town Artist Theo Vorster. It depicts the red and white striped Mouille Point Lighthouse. As a child I used to sleep over with my grandparents in their cottage at Mouille Point and, bleary eyed in the morning after a night of hooting, my grandfather called the Lighthouse ‘Old Moaning Minnie.’ In the glass, the wine is a deep bloodplum at the heart which pales out to an almost translucent dark ruby. The aromas are wonderful, red berries and cherries, plums and prunes, and the undertow of oak and its concomitant spices. The generous mouthful is all about red berries, cashmere clad tannins, fruit acidity and the oak, all harmoniously interwoven in the long and gently waning aftertaste.
Do chill the wine for about 30 minutes in the fridge or in an ice bucket. As a glass while you wait for the braai flames to die down, it is perfect. The Durbanville Hills Collector’s Reserve The Lighthouse Merlot 2016 is a food wine and Roberta Muir’s Mustard Crust Roast Lamb is a great partner. Click HERE for her recipe.
Roberta Muir – cookbook author, food writer and manager of Sydney Seafood School – has a passion for good cooking, eating and drinking, and exciting travel in search of all three. A trained Chef and Cook Book Author.
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