#240 Vondeling Barrel Select Merlot 2019
VONDELING WINES TO HUNT
Bowwood Chenin Blanc
Vondeling Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2019
Vondeling Babiana White Blend
VIDEO CONTENTS INDEX:
00:00 – MERLOT DEEP DIVE INTRO
00:41 – VONDELING ESTATE AND THE VOOR-PAARDEBERG APPELLATION
02:17 – WHAT DOES THE VONDELING BARREL SELECT MERLOT TASTE LIKE?
03:43 – WHAT IS POST-FERMENTATION MACERATION?
Odd Ducks can be delicious
Vondeling is a bit of an odd duck. The estate is based in the increasingly trendy Voor-Paardeberg, where some truly incredible white blends, Chenin Blancs, and Grenache Blancs are emerging. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon are almost swear words amongst the raggedy, bearded, more progressive bunch in the neighbourhood. And while cellar master Matt Copeland is less raggedy, and completely unbearded, his wines are still very much in that mix; producing a truly superb Babiana White Blend (Chenin / Viognier / Grenache / Roussanne), and also raking in some awards for the Pinotage and Chenin Blanc he makes under the auxillary label BowWood.
So when trying to find reasons for street cred, it jars slightly to realise that in amidst all this fringe fervour, their most solid performers (especially to the European markets) are the supremely well made twin pair of their Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Barrel Select Merlot, both of which manage to rake in awards with alarming regularity. So even if you have no idea exactly what Vondeling stands for as a brand, one would be a fool to overlook them.
Their Barrel-Select Merlot recently appeared in the Merlot Forum Top Ten for 2022, and is one of the few wines to appear more than once in the HanDrinksSolo Curations…mostly because it manages to express Merlot in a much needed form; structured, brooding and opulent, without being balshy, beefy or oever-oaked. A feat that is harder than it sounds!
BUT, if you have yet to sign up for your Monthly HanDrinksSolo Wine Subscription then you’ll have to taste this wine another time. Until then, here are my tasting notes and some technical specs:
👃🏼 The vanguard carries hints of fresh herbs, arranged before a rather lush black fruit backdrop; blackcurrant pastilles, blueberries, plum, cinnamon, and a touch of liquorice toffee.
👄 On the palate, the herbal notes are mostly absent, and in their place the black and blue fruit take centre stage. Tannins are quite firm, but they merely serve as anchored guide rails for the lengthy, concentrated, rolling blackberry and pastille finish.
Wine of Origin Voor-Paardeberg. 100% Merlot. Grapes are destemmed, and cold soaked for two days before spontaneous fermentation begins. Fruit is a combination of whole berries and crushed berries. One week extended maceration after fermentation before the wine is drained in 300l French oak barrels and matured for 18 months.
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