Shannon 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 and these are all picked
together for a 5 way clonal co-ferment. The bunches are chilled to 3oC before being sorted on a conveyor and destemmed. Berries are hand sorted, before cold maceration ensues for 3 to 6 days at 8oC. The 5 way clonal ferment is inoculated with a commercial winemaking yeast. Fermentation temperatures vary between 26 – 30oC. After pressing, the wine is racked and left to complete its malolactic fermentation and maturation in old 4 to 5 year old French oak barriques for 9 months.
Considerable emphasis is placed on maximising the different French and Italian merlot expressions in the vineyard but picked and vinified all together and matured in
older French barrels 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, apart from the inculated ferment and only two to three “punch downs” daily, retains silkiness and elegance.
Variety: 100% Merlot
Alcohol: 14 %
pH: 3.65 g/l
Residual sugar: 3.31 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.