Our Merlot is grown on a single vineyard which has produced fantastic wines vintage after vintage since being planted in 1998. The block is somewhat of an enigma, ripening almost perfectly evenly without significant intervention or irrigation management. I am sure that viticulturists all over the world wish they had it this good!
Despite being an easy vineyard to manage, we give this vineyard a great deal of attention and love, especially with respect to leaf-plucking. This is done manually three to four times per year in order to expose the berries to sun earlier and reduce herbaceous and under-ripe character in the wine. Harvesting this block is almost as easy as growing it, and in 2008 we took 6 tons per hectare at 24° Balling.
This is where it gets tricky! Our Merlot may be easy to grow, but it's certainly not an easy wine to make. We strive for a balance between deep, luscious flavours and austere, elegant structure. This yields a wine which is ready to compete in the big leagues and breaks the traditional conception of Merlot as an also-ran. Fermented on the skins, the wine is gently pressed and left to 225 litre French oak barriques for 12 months. It is racked twice during this period, and ultimately bottled with minimal intervention. The result is a deep, clear colour, intense smoky aroma, and fruitful yet structured flavor.