Some years ago, vineyard owners were being told to pull up their Cinsaut and plant Merlot. Now as fashions change, the reverse is happening. Thank goodness for those who ‘kept the faith’, amongst them Groot Constantia. Merlot is going places as the Merlot Interest Group does its work to help producers plant the right clones, in the right places and to treat it right in the cellar.
Boela Gerber, Groot Constantia’s Winemaker and member of the Cape Winemakers Guild is producing some stonking great wines from vineyards planted on the slopes of Constantia mountain. The grapes for the Groot Constantia Merlot 2014 come from vineyards planted on Glenrosa soils on slopes south to south east facing.
Once in the cellar, the grapes were destalked and crushed and then taken to stainless steel tanks for fermentation. During the first half of fermentation the fermenting wine was pumped up over the skin cap floating on the top. This helps with soft extraction of tannins, aromas, colour and flavours.
Once the fermentation was complete, the wine was matured for 13 months in French oak barrels, of which 44% were new and the remainder made up of 2nd and 3rd previous fill barrels. After maturation, the wine was prepared for bottling.
It looks like
Packed in a Bordeaux bottle with the Constantia emblem embossed in the glass just below the neck. This indicates that the grapes used for the wine were grown in the Constantia Wine Appellation. In the glass, the wine is an opaque plum in the centre which pales out to garnet at the meniscus.
It smells like
A generosity of fruit – red and black berries and plums. Oak and its concomitant spices in supportive undertow.
It tastes like
A melange of fruit. Rustic berries like mulberries and roadside brambles. Blueberries and blackcurrants. Soft tannins well interwoven with the other components. A really pleasing glassful.
It’s good with
Soft drinking Merlot is a popular wine by the glass because it is so accessible. It is a superb partner for food. It is great when served chilled with Ina Paarman’s Flattie in a Frying Pan. Click here for her recipe.
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