JUST THE FACTS
Price: R140 (as of Feb 2017)
Wine Region: Stellenbosch
Country: South Africa
Ponce Factor: Moderate
Occasion: When you’re trying to prove someone wrong about Merlot.
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Softer than a Ryan Gosling film.
Superbly lush black fruit on the palate, preceded by vanguard aromas of eucalyptus and black plum notes, underscored by gentle oak and savoury leather complications. Time in the cellar did this a world of good, allowing the aforementioned tertiary aromas to develop.
Gentle black cherry acidity carries through to the tail where more ripe berry fruit lingers longer than Bieber track in the Top Ten.
Merlot and Donatella
Bottles of Merlot are a lot like fashion designers. For example, as they get older, they start to smell very different to when they were young.
Also, if you lock them in an airtight cellar for a few years, they go really quiet.
And finally, like Donatella, they turn a sort of rusty red a lot faster than some of their peers.
This susceptibility to bricking entrenches a misconception that Merlots (and fashion designers) are best enjoyed young.
The fact that Merlots are also usually far less tannic than their kissing cousins the Cabernet Sauvignons contributes to the fact that many a wine newbie is reluctant to hang onto a merlot longer than it takes to hawk 1D tickets at a Girl Guide Convention.
Truth be told though, Merlots can age successfully for up to a decade (which in the Tinder-ized age of instant gratification is a veritable eternity).
Warmer climate examples, like the above-mentioned Lanzerac bottle may not last quite that long, but at 6 years of age, this little beauty is quite something.
More premium examples of South African merlots are well worth seeking out, with the view to letting them rest for five to seven years.
Han’s candidates for solitary confinement
There are some superb South African Merlots that will all stand up to some solitary confinement. Here are a few examples worth seeking out (in the order that they popped up in my brain):
A. Groot Constantia
E. Anura Reserve
F. Eagle’s Nest
About the Author
Jono Le Feuvre is not a bean counter. He is a bean roaster. Bean roasters carry far more street cred & get to speak at bizarre niche gatherings of enquiring-but-unhinged-minds. They also usually have addictive tendencies. When he is not roasting beans he is pulling corks. Or deftly removing screwcap enclosures. But you can read more about him here.