Mount Bullet Merlot 2016
Elgin’s climate is milder than the average Mediterranean climate. Snow occasionally covers the highest peaks. The “Black South-Easter” known for its gusting cold winds and rain showers is the result of strong summer south-easterly maritime winds blowing off the South Atlantic Ocean 12 kilometers away. This creates a cloud mantle across the Elgin valley, markedly lowering daytime temperatures. This cool climate ensures long, slow ripening of the grapes under ideal growing conditions, with the sugar, pH, acid and avour compounds in balance to produce elegant and re ned wines. ShannonVineyards grapes ripen later than other Cape vineyards and are in perfect balance. Elgin is classified as Region II on the Winkler scale. Growing conditions on the north facing slopes are similar to Bordeaux and its south facing slopes similar to Burgundy.
The grapes are picked from a small 3 hectare vineyard. The vineyard is divided up into 5 different parcels each with its own respective clone. The soil, trellising and canopy management is constant through out the vineyard so it is the actual clonal characteristics that determine the different dates of harvest. Over the years we have learnt that there is as much as 11 – 14 days difference between picking the first clone to picking the last clone. The bunches are chilled to 3oC before being sorted on a conveyor and destemmed. Berries are then hand sorted, before cold maceration ensues for 3 to 6 days at 8oC. We try to naturally ferment 100% of the different parcels of grapes making up the Mount Bullet. Fermentation temperatures vary between 26 – 30oC. After pressing, the wine is racked and left to complete its malolactic fermentation and maturation in oak barriques.
Considerable emphasis is placed on maximising the different clone expressions and therefore each parcel is vinified and matured separately before final blending. The wine has a fragrance of ripe red fruits such as plums and dark cherries, with earthy complexity and yet still expressing minerality. Maintaining a good acidity lends to outstanding freshness with a well integrated ripe and seductive tannin structure. Incorporating a minimal winemaking intervention approach, such as natural ferment and only two “punch downs” daily, retains silkiness and elegance.
100% matured in barriques (225L) for approximately 20 months using a blend of 3 Bordeaux cooperages. The oak used is of a tighter grain and medium toasted. New oak – 40%, 2nd fill – 30%, 3rd fill – 20% and 4th fill 10%.
Variety: 100% Merlot
Alcohol: 14 %
pH: 3.4 g/l
Residual sugar: 2.1 g/l
Clones planted : MO 03, 12, 192 and MO 343 and 348.
Rootstock : Richter 110.
Soil types : Mostly Table Mountain Sandstone with a high percentage of quartz silica crystal and a deeper kaolin clay base.
Aspect of vineyards : East facing slopes.
Ha planted : 3 ha.
Planting distance : 2.2m x 1.2m.
Vines per hectare : 3787 vines.
Trellis system : Vertical shoot positioning.
Irrigation : Micro irrigation.
Average Production : 5 tons per hectare (19-26 hl/ha).
Harvest dates : On average last week of March and first week of April.