Merlot is slowly moving itself into big favour. Formerly better known as a blending partner with Cabernet Sauvignon. Some years back, farmers were being told to remove their Merlot and plant Mediterranean varieties. Now the realization has come that if Merlot is planted in the right place, with the right soils, and the correct microclimate, and it is looked after in the vineyard it can make truly outstanding wines. Hallo Merlot is the local Merlot Forum which is promoting the idea that ‘Merlot is a fascinating grape that lends itself to producing wines in an excitingly wide array of styles.’ The Landskroon Merlot 2017 of a wine that has had excellent elévage in the cellar by 5th generation Cellarmaster Paul de Villiers and his winemaker Michiel du Toit.
The grapes for the Landskroon Merlot 2017 are harvested off the estate and taken to the cellar where they are destalked and then taken to some open and some closed stainless-steel fermentation tanks. Once fermented and pressed, the wine spent a year in 225 litre French and American oak barrels, a small component of which was new oak, the remainder a mix of second and third fill barrels. The wine was then prepared for bottling.
From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label is classic Anthony Lane design. In the glass, the wine is a deep bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The aromas are ripe plums and a selection of berries, red and black and cherries. The oak and its concomitant spices and vanilla are present as a support to the fruit. Providing a platform as it were on which the fruit can perform. From entry, the wine fills the mouth generously and richly. The mid-palate especially is full and broad. There is a delicious freshness from entry to tail. If cool cellared, the wine will reward in years to come.
Very popular as a glass wine, I have heard the most popular in Gauteng. Chilled for about 30 minutes before service, there is a great improvement. Ina Paarman’s Venison Pie with Port & Prunes gives you the opportunity to use Landskroon’s much awarded Cape Vintage, a Port style wine. The Landskroon ‘Ports’ have won prizes down the generations. Click HERE for Ina’s recipe.
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