Merlot, or how the French say - young blackbird. On the nose it's elevated and perfumed with notes of dark cherry, black currant combined with graphite, eucalyptus and capsicum.
That generous energy of dark fruit meets the palate with violet, fennel seed and hay. The use of American and French oak promotes tannins that have a firm astringency on the finish, so allow this wine to breathe, open and unfold.
A good part of the vintage growing season happens in the prior year.
For vintage 2021, it provided a milder Margaret River vintage. The conditions in this region are quite consistent looking at the coastal influence, temperature and overall Mediterranean climate.
The winter (June to August) of 2020 was significantly wet. The growing season was a mild spring (September to November) in 2020, with reasonable but not extreme rainfall, which are excellent growing conditions for vines and producing fruit with fantastic intensity.
Budburst and flowering across all varieties were normal. First grape variety to burst was Semillon followed by Pinot Grigio and Sauvignon Blanc.
Fortunately, in December and January, the region experienced virtually no rain and the summer was generally warm with few hot days experienced.
The cool nights allowed the vines some relief from the hot days. Weather in the first week of February was mild and 80mm of rain fell, providing welcome relief for the vineyards and was a
great timing for the later ripening Cabernet Sauvignon.
The white varietals had finished veraison early February and the red varietals were still mid-veraison. Bird nets went onto the vineyard, however the flowering of marri blossom in the region kept the birds out of the vineyards.
The red varietals progressed nicely into autumn with some expressive fruit whilst the tannins seemed to take a little longer to evolve.
Early observations indicated that the white varietals had incredible flavour at lower baume that usual and retained natural acidity. There is purity and varietal expression and all at lower potential alcohol levels.
The mild summer produced excellent varietal definition with length and clarity.
Due to the Merlot 181 clone – that can ripen longer, has finer tannins and a natural dark fruit character, the grapes for this vintage were picked at an optimal ripeness with a natural acidity present. After harvest the grapes were crushed and fermented. The wine was racked, filtered and fined to repress harsh astringency and create more structural silky tannins. This wine spent 13 months in 80% American and 20% French oak.
This wine goes well with red meat, charcuterie and soft cheeses.