sábado, 2 de marzo de 2013

Meerlust Merlot, Stellenbosch 2008


MEERLUST MERLOT, STELLENBOSCH 2008

- Winery: The Meerlust estate has been owned by the Myburgh family since 1757. Made in the 'right-bank' tradition, this wine is a blend of 89% Merlot with 11% Cabernet Franc added for a supple and balanced structure and aromatic complexity.

- Grape: Merlot

- Taste: Deep, youthful purple with a ruby rim. Juicy plum and mulberry fruit abound on the nose, with lifted spiciness, hints of chocolate and a beefy edge. The palate offers silky tannins and good length.

- Price: £16.99

MERLOT

Merlot is a red wine variety with strong historic ties to Bordeaux and the south-west of France. It is the predominant variety in most wines from Saint-Emilion and Pomerol. the area in which the variety originated. The variety is now widely planted in wine regions across the world, and in terms of the volumes of wine produced internationally, it is rivaled only by its Bordeaux companion, Cabernet Sauvionon.

In France, Merlot is the most widely planted red wine variety of all, and it is also extremely popular in northern Italy and the warmer areas of southern Switzerland. The popularity of Merlot in the United States resulted in a significant increase in planting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly in California and Washington on the country's west coast. However, while Merlot-based wines were the height of fashion then, popularity has since dropped significantly in favor of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir.

Chile, a country which has long been known as a source of good value wine, has built its reputation mainly on its Merlot-based cuvees. The country has made good use of Merlot in both the high-production wines and some of its finer wines, particularly those from Apalta and the wider Colchagua Valley.

Investigations into the genetics of Merlot suggest that it is closely related to Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, its Bordeaux blending partners. Carmenere, an historic member of the extended Bordeaux variety is also a close relative, and has been mistaken as Merlot for many years in the vineyards of Chile.

The precise flavors that Merlot imparts to a wine are not easily grouped. It is a grape used for producing wines of a particular texture, rather than a particular taste, relying on organoleptic properties other than just flavor and aroma.

Smooth, rounded and 'easy-drinking' are common descriptions of Merlot wines. The main reason for this is that Merlot grapes are relatively large in relation to their pips and the thickness of the skins, in which tannins are found. For this reason, the variety is used to soften wines made from more tannic varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon (in the Medoc) or Malbec (in Cahors). It is also used in cooler vintages to balance the austerity of under-ripe grapes and to make the wines more approachable at an earlier age.

Merlot might be seen as the 'reliable' grape variety, or as an insurance policy. Along with its capacity to soften wine, it is early-maturing - meaning that it ripens even in slightly cooler climates. Its key drawback is that the early-developing flowers are more susceptible to frost damage in spring.

Popular blends include: Cabernet Sauvianon - Merlot, Bordeaux blend, Cabernet Franc - Merlot, Meritaae, Cabernet - Merlot - Shiraz, Cabernet - Merlot - Tempranillo, Chianti blend, Merlot - Sanaiovese, Merlot - Tempranillo, Cabernet - Merlot - Sanaiovese.

Synonyms include: Merlot Noir.

Related grape varieties include: Carmenere, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvianon.

SOUTH AFRICA WINE

South Africa is an important wine producer, with most of its major wine regions occupying the southernmost tip of the African continent. The heart of the country's wine industry lies in and around the Cape Peninsula and the Coastal region, both of which are exposed to the maritime influences of the Atlantic and Indian oceans. Overall, the climate can be classified as Mediterranean, marked by dry heat and intense sunlight. This is reflected in South Africa's wine styles, along with a long tradition of quality wine making dating back to 1659.

A significant development in the South African wine industry has been the enforcement of the 'Wines of Origin' (WO) program, which dictates the way that wine regions are defined and how they appear on wine labels. One of the main features of the program is that a wine stating a WO on its label must be made exclusively from grapes grown in the designated area.

South Africa is one of the few wine-growing countries which demonstrates a mix of old and New World cultures when it comes to the styles of wine produced. While its sparkling wine, and the majority of its still wines, follow New World wine-making practices, there are many well-known fortified and dessert wines which are more in line with their Old World counterparts.

A diverse range of grapes is grown throughout South Africa's wine regions. Chenin Blanc (locally known as Steen) and Chardonnay top the list of whites, while Cabernet Sauvignon. Merlot and Svrah are notable reds. Pinotaqe is another important variety and produces a signature style in South Africa.

References: majestic and wine-searcher

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