Merlot has recently been moving its way into the notice of fine wine drinkers. Somewhat scorned in the recent past, wine farmers were being encouraged to grub up their Merlot and plant the apparently more desirable varieties from southern France. Fortunately, the ‘lets-sit-and-wait’ growers are now being rewarded with older vines. The Hello Merlot group is researching better aspects, altitudes and soil types and ways of treating the vines and this is paying off well. The de Villiers family have owned and farmed Landskroon for 5 generations and the Landskroon Paul de Villiers Merlot 2015 pays homage not only to the current Cellarmaster, Paul de Villiers, but to his 4 predecessors, also named Paul. Paul 5 once told me that he would like to have dinner with the previous Pauls so that he could get their views on wine making at Landskroon.
The grapes for the Landskroon Paul de Villiers Merlot 2015, are grown on the Estate and therefore from the Paarl Wine Appellation. Hand harvested to ensure the integrity of the grapes for this premium wine. Destemmed and crushed the grapes are taken to both open and closed stainless steel fermentation tanks where temperatures were controlled to between 25°C and 27°C. Once pressed the wine was taken for 16 months to 50% New French Oak, 30% 2nd fill French oak, 20% 3rd fill French oak barrels. After maturation the wine was prepared for bottling.
From an appropriately Bordeaux shaped bottle under natural cork. Bordeaux is the home of Merlot. The label is simple and elegant. In the glass, the Landskroon Paul de Villiers Merlot 2015 is a deep ruby at the heart which pales out to a rich garnet at the edges. The aromas are of berry fruits, cherries, mulberries and roadside brambles and plums. The palate is rich from entry, broad in the mid palate – there is an undertow of good dark chocolate. In the long aftertaste, the tannins, generous fruit and the oak with its concomitant spices are all perfectly interwoven into the long and slowly waning aftertaste.
This is the perfect post prandial glass for serious discussion and philosophising. Discussing which of the two local school rugby teams is going to win the end of season Derby, or the merits of Irma Stern and Maggie Laubser. As a food wine it is the perfect match for the quintessential Sunday Roast. The Landskroon Paul de Villiers Merlot 2015 is as comfortable with the roasted meats, real gravy and traditional accompaniments as it is with a cut off the coals at a family barbecue or a platter of charcuterie and artisanal cheeses like those from Dalewood Fromage which is around the corner from Landskroon. Anna Montali’s Exotic Mushroom Risotto is the perfect midweek supper dish for when you want a fine glass like the Landskroon Paul de Villiers Merlot 2015. Click here for her recipe.
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