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Excelsior Merlot, Robertson, South Africa 2021

This Merlot has an extra dimension of spiciness which makes it fantastic value for money. Juicy, soft and elegant.
Rich & Savoury, Full-Bodied Red
More Information
Producer Excelsior
Country South Africa
Region Robertson
Wine Type Red Wine
Body / Style Rich & Savoury, Full-Bodied Red
Grape Blend 100% Merlot
Bottle Size (ml) 750
% Abv 14.5
Vintage 2021
Special Features Sustainable
Extra Info Juicy, elegant, spicy
Food Pairing Guide Try with some duck or venison
*Please note - the image may not reflect the current vintage

Excelsior Merlot is excellent value for money. It has classic aromas of ripe cherry but is made a bit more interesting by subtle smoky coffee hints and spiciness. This is a juicy, spicy Merlot with soft, gentle tannin. Definitely punches above its weight, and would keep for a few years.

For years the Excelsior land was grazed by thoroughbred horses, the limestone rich soils thought to provide them with a source of calcium through the vegetation they consumed. This limestone content has proven to be beneficial for grape growing; the grapes grown here display greater spice notes in reds and fresher acidity in whites, than is typical in the Robertson region. Merlot is difficult to grow successfully as the variety often displays green flavours and tannins. To minimise this, very strict canopy management practices are followed, with water shoot removal twice, leaf pluck where necessary, and most importantly bunch thinning. This ensures an adequately "open" canopy, so that most berries get sunlight exposure. This brings out the blackcurrant and red fruit characters of Merlot and avoids green tannins.

The 19th century De Wet farm is located in the picturesque Robertson Valley, between two rugged mountain ranges near the Breede River, where it benefits from ideal conditions for breeding horses and growing vines. Historically, the farm had three activities: horse and ostrich breeding and vine growing, but today winemaking is the main activity. Owning 220 hectares of their own vines and having a bottling line on site has allowed the winery to control all aspects of the winemaking. The De Wet family has also developed a social program which benefits its employees and the local community and, through the sales of Excelsior wines, has financed the building of a local crèche as well as the two teachers for the village school.

Grapes were harvested by hand for greater quality control. The bunches were immediately destemmed but kept whole berry. Fermentation took place in stainless-steel tanks for a period of seven days at temperatures between 28 and 32°C. Aerated racking took place twice daily to ensure a clean ferment and soft tannins. The grapes were gently pressed in a bladder press, after which malolactic fermentation was completed in tank. 45% of the total wine was aged in a mixture of French and American oak for a period of six months, while the remaining wine was aged in stainless-steel tanks. Winemaker: Johan Stemmet
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