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Merlot

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Bogle Merlot 2016 (1x75cl)

Though the Bogle family has been farming in the Clarksburg region for six generations, their involvement in the wine business spans back 50 years. In addition to passing down a strong work ethic and dedication to quality, the success of Bogle over the years is rooted in the day-to-day involvement of the Bogle family. The family takes great pride in making wines of exceptional character and quality. From vineyard to bottle, the highest standards are set, in order to create a wine that overdelivers each and every time.

To see an excellent tasting/information sheet from Bogle themselves, please click on the blue link below.

Bogle Merlot 2016 - fiche technique

Concentrated and full-bodied, the Merlot is a study in contrasts. Subtle and silky, yet bright and intense, this deep red wine is multifaceted. Black raspberry and dark cherry greet the nose, while the brighter fruit of ripe summer plum dazzles the palate. The toast and spice of twelve months in American oak seamlessly integrate with the tannin structure of this wine, leaving a long, lingering finish.

£14.60

Botter Merlot del Veneto IGT 2018 (1x75cl)

They say that a good wine needs time to reveal its qualities, but it also needs dedication and constant commitment. Few products can embody so much expertise and thousands of years of history as those made by Botter. It has passed through the careful hands of three generations for whom wine was a passion as well as a trade. They have responded to the constantly evolving market over time, in a process of ongoing expansion.

After the grapes are harvested during the second half of September, this wine undergoes traditional red wine vinification at a controlled temperature between 25 and 27 °C.

This is an elegant, well-structured wine with typical ruby red colour. It has a clean bouquet with notes of currants and violets. The palate is balanced, delicate and persistent.

£7.50

Chateau La Tuilerie des Combes, Lussac Saint-Emilion 2015 (1x 75cl)

The vineyards of the Chateau de la Tuilerie des Combes stand on the communes of Lussac and Montagne, just 8 kilometres from the medieval town of Saint-Emilion, which lies at the heart of one of the most famous wine regions in the world.

Under the guidance of the new owners, Count Henri le Grelle and his son Vincent, the vineyard’s surface area totals 17.3 acres. Grape variety planting stringently obeys Saint-Emilion norms: 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Francs for a fine balance in ageing wines.

The winemaking is traditional, nurturing the wine with the greatest of care until its development. The wine is aged in oak barriques for 18 months in one of most modern cellars if the area with its new system of thermoregulation which supports optimal maturation.

2015 has been hailed as an excellent vintage in Bordeaux. Generous flowering took place followed by a hot, dry early summer. August was slightly cooler and damper, followed by good weather in September enabling the grapes to reach full maturity. The wines have power and precision, particularly from the Right Bank appellations and many outstanding wines have been made from lesser appellations.

80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc.

Beautifully developed garnet-red in colour. Shows a very ripe nose of concentrated fruits of the forest and a dense palate reminiscent of black cherries and chocolate with pretty notes of liquorice and eucalyptus. The typically bordelaise structure is flexible, with soft, rounded tannins that bring balance and add length to the palate which finishes dry and clean.

£16.50

Chateau Los Boldos Grande Reserve Merlot 2016 (1x75cl)

Chateau Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, their focus from an early stage has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since being purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results – significantly improved grapes – are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.

Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. Clear, bright skies during the summer and a high diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity while ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields.  Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, therefore controlling everything from grape to bottle. The wines for the Grande Réserve range are produced with hand-harvested grapes sourced from vineyards planted in the early 2000's.

The Merlot grapes were macerated for 25 days in stainless steel tanks, with fermentation taking place at temperatures between 25-28°C. The wine underwent malolactic fermentation, and was then aged for 10 months in French oak prior to bottling.

This wine is 100% Merlot.

This wine is ruby red in colour, with youthful hues. Bright aromas of red fruits, plums and raspberries are complemented by spicy notes and toast aromas from its time in oak. On the palate, it has soft tannins and good length.

£13.25

Chateau Los Boldos Tradition Reserve Merlot 2018 (1x75cl)

Château Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, the focus from the onset has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since it was purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.

Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate. The clear, bright skies during the summer and the high diurnal temperature range are ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity whilst ripening to perfection. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields. Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, therefore controlling everything from grape to bottle.

From the second week of February 2018 there was a sudden rise in temperature, with maximums above 35°C that accelerated the ripening processes of the early ripening varieties. March, a very important month for the development of the medium to late ripening varieties, experienced moderate to fresh conditions which ensured grapes accumulated sugars slowly and retained good levels of acidity. Harvest of these varieties was one to two weeks later than usual. Overall the 2018 season produced good yields of excellent quality grapes resulting in wines with balanced natural acidity, moderate alcohols and vibrant freshness.

The grapes were fermented in stainless steel tanks for eight days at temperatures between 25-28°C. Following fermentation, the wine was transferred to used oak barrels (a mix of French and American) for four months during which time malolactic fermentation took place.

100% Merlot.

This Merlot is bright ruby-red in colour, with aromas of sour cherries, blackberries, blackcurrants and a touch of vanilla. On the palate, the wine is balanced with velvety tannins and a soft, elegant finish.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

ABV = 13.5%.

£9.50

Chateau Los Boldos Vieilles Vignes Merlot 2015 (1x75cl)

Chateau Los Boldos was founded in 1991 and is situated 100km south of Santiago in the foothills of the Cachapoal Andes. Working with a portion of old vines originally planted in 1948, their focus from an early stage has been on the production of premium wines. The estate has been transformed since being purchased by Sogrape in 2008. Renowned soil scientist and viticultural consultant Pedro Parra (of Clos des Fous) was brought in to assess the plots and match the right variety to the different soils around the estate. The type of rootstock, planting density, orientation and the frequency of irrigation were all within Pedro’s remit, and the results – significantly improved grapes – are now being seen in the wines, especially since Victor Arce, previously of Perez Cruz, joined as winemaker in 2015.

Los Boldos has 170 hectares of vineyards which benefit from a Mediterranean climate with clear, bright skies during the summer and a high diurnal temperature range, ideal for growing fruit that maintains fresh acidity while becoming perfectly ripe. The nearby Cachapoal river also moderates temperatures, while stony alluvial soils in the vineyard ensure low yields.  Los Boldos makes wine exclusively from their own vineyards, therefore controlling everything from grape to bottle. The Vieilles Vignes range is produced with the best hand-picked grapes sourced from vineyards that are more than 60 years old.

A rainy winter at the start of the 2014/2015 season helped to accumulate enough water for the entire growing season. January was very cloudy, but February was partially clear and a bit warmer than usual, which allowed harvest to begin at the end of the month with concentrated and aromatic grapes with balanced sugar and acidity levels.

The must had seven days of pre-fermentation maceration in stainless steel tanks to aid colour and flavour extraction from the grapes. It then underwent 30 days of fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks at 26-28°C. The wine then spent 20 months in French oak barrels before release.

100% Merlot.

This wine is intense ruby red colour with violet tones. On the nose, it has aromas of plums, raspberries and cherries, with toasted, spicy and herbal notes.This wine is well-balanced with soft, velvety tannins and a smooth and elegant finish.

ABV = 14.0%.

£17.80

Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah 2015 (1x75cl)

The 2013 vintage was awarded 98 points and Outstanding status by Decanter (www.decanter.com(see blue link below).

Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah 2013 - Dec 2017 Decanter review

Craggy Range produces a collection of iconic wines from multiple regions in New Zealand. Owner Terry Peabody and his family pursued the single vineyard approach to winemaking, planting on green fields and bare land ensuring a focus on quality from the very beginning. New Zealand, with its diversity of soils types offered the perfect location to plant the vines. From the stony, warm soils of the Gimblett Gravels in Hawke's Bay to the volcanic, clay soils of Te Muna Road in Martinborough these exceptional vineyards produce wines with amazing aromatics, purity and complexity.

Le Sol is born of the renowned Gimblett Gravels viticultural appellation with its gravelly soils attracting the sun in summer and insulating the vines in winter. The vines are planted in the stoniest parts of the vineyard to a heritage clone of Syrah brought to New Zealand in the 1840s.

The grapes for this wine were hand harvested and completely destemmed before fermentation was allowed to start. They used a combination of open top French oak cuves and open top stainless steel tanks for the fermentation process with yeast being added to the must. The wine was then allowed to mature in French oak barriques (30% new) for 17 months.

Le Sol has a colour of the deepest red with a vibrant purple hue. This is an expressive cool climate Syrah with lifted notes of violets, fresh boysenberries, sandalwood and a hint of dried, peppered meat. The palate has a dense core of dark fruits beautifully integrated by acidity and fine, dusty tannins giving the wine a long, elegant feel towards the dry finish.

To see Craggy Range's information sheet for this wine please click on the blue link below.

Craggy Range Le Sol Syrah 2015 - fiche technique

£52.60

Kaiken Ultra Merlot 2016 (1x75cl)

Kaikenes are wild geese, native to Patagonia, that fly across the Andes between Chile and Argentina. In the same way, Montes, the Chilean winery, crossed the Andes to set up in Mendoza. Their vineyards are situated in the heart of Mendoza and further to the south in Valle de Uco, where many of the premium producers are now sourcing their fruit. The focus is primarily on Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon, a variety that has been somewhat forgotten as Malbec has surfed one wave of success after another in the past decade. As a result, there are many old vineyards in Mendoza that produce excellent fruit. Kaiken's own vineyards supply 70% of their production requirements and 30% is from vineyards that they control.

Fruit for the Kaiken Ultra Merlot was sourced from a single vineyard in Vistalba, Luján de Cuyo, which is over 75 years old. The vines are trained along a pergola system, which helps protect the grapes from the sun and high temperatures. The soil is alluvial, with layers of sand, silt and rocks, allowing for excellent drainage and creating the ideal conditions for concentrated grapes.

This vintage saw a very cold spring, with average temperatures well below previous years. The cold temperatures delayed bud break and flowering by 20-25 days. 2016 will be remembered as a challenging vintage due to cold weather, 700 millimetres of rain during the growing season, and a 20-day delay in reaching maturation. The vines, therefore, required a lot of attention from the viticultural team. Despite low yields (down by 40%), the grapes harvested were healthy and of very good quality.

The grapes were hand harvested at the end of March and transported in 15 kilogram trays to prevent the grapes from being damaged in transit. The grapes were then hand sorted in the winery. After pressing, the juice was fermented in small tanks. Fermentation and maceration lasted one month.The wine was transferred into barrels. One third of the wine was aged in new barrels, while the rest was aged in second- and third-use barrels for 12 months.

93% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc.

Intense and brilliant ruby red in colour, this Merlot delights with pronounced aromas of cassis and red berry jam, accompanied by some spicy notes. Well-structured with silky tannins, the finish is long and invites a second glass.

ABV = 14.5%.

£15.05

Montes Alpha Colchagua Merlot 2016 (1x75cl)

Montes was established in 1988 by Aurelio Montes, Douglas Murray, Alfredo Vidaurre and Pedro Grand, with the aim of producing the best wines in Chile from the best regions. The Montes Alpha Cabernet Sauvignon, first produced in 1987, broke the mould for premium wines in Chile. Since then, Alpha has developed to become the core range in the Montes portfolio. The grapes and sites are carefully selected in order to ensure varietal integrity and complexity. Viticulture is hands on rather than mechanical or industrial.

The Merlot grapes come from Montes' own vineyards in Marchigüe located in the Colchagua Valley. As with other regions in Chile, the ocean plays a role even 25km away, with cool breezes moderating this warm area. The sites are irrigated via a 'Sustainable Dry Farmed' system, developed by Aurelio and his team, which allows for precise and minimal irrigation, reducing their water usage by 65%. Marchigüe is dry, lying in the rain shadow of the Coastal Range, with low fungal disease pressure resulting in consistently healthy harvests.

The grapes were cold soaked at 10°C for seven days to extract aroma and colour before fermentation in temperature controlled stainless steel tanks for 8-10 days. The wine then remained on skins for a further 15-20 days to aid structure and colour. After malolactic fermentation, 55% of the final blend was aged in French oak barrels (25% new, the rest second and third fill) for 12 months to add complexity and roundness to the wine.

90% Merlot, 10% Carmenere.

Deep cherry red in colour with a violet hue. On the nose there are pronounced aromas of blackberries, cherries, figs and plums. The oak ageing adds subtle layers of vanilla and pepper as well as giving nutty notes and sweet spices. This is a well-structured wine with smooth, round tannins and a long and elegant finish.

£14.20

Petrolo Galatrona 2016 (1x75cl)

Petrolo remains one of the most talked-about Tuscan estates. It is situated in the Colli Aretini, bordering on the Chianti hills, in an historic area delimited in 1716 by the Grand Duke of Tuscany Cosimo III de' Medici as one of Tuscany's top four wine producing zones. The Petrolo estate was part of the old medieval fiefdom of 'Galatrona', the old tower ('Torrione') which still remains on top of Roman foundations. Luca Sanjust runs the estate and the vibrancy and intensity of the fruit that he is getting in his wines has brought them some well deserved attention.

The vineyards were planted at the beginning of the 1990s. Yields are low, producing just 0.5kg of grapes per vine, giving wines with great concentration of flavour. The soil consists of rocky stratifications of galestro and clay-like earth with schist typical of the Apennine areas in Tuscany.

Healthy fruit underwent destemming and gentle crushing before undergoing fermentation, which lasted 14 days with regular pumping over to ensure maximum extraction of colour and tannins. Malolactic fermentation was encouraged once the wine was racked off the skins. The wine was then aged on the fine lees for 6 months in new French oak barriques followed by a further 12 months ageing in barrel (off/removed from the lees).

2016 is the first vintage of the Galatrona to be certified organic.

See blue link below for an excellent, detailed discussion of the wine and its various vintages from the producers themselves.

Petrolo Galatrona 2016 - fiche technique

Made from 100% Merlot, Galatrona is one of the most awarded wines of the estate. It is a wine with great structure on the palate and is wildly aromatic on the nose. It is intense, elegant and complex, with a lovely balance between acidity, fruit and tannins.

This wine is suitable for vegans and vegetarians.

£106.35

Planeta Sito dell Ulmo Merlot 2014 (1x 75cl)

As sampled at Exel Wines' November 2018 tasting. See here for the report of that evening.

In Planeta’s early years, expertise came from a surprising source: Australia. The winemaker brought in by Diego Planeta was an Italian – Carlo Corino – but one who had soaked in the latest warm-climate winemaking secrets during a stint in New South Wales. Ever since, Planeta has managed to captured the intrinsic perfume and fresh flavours of Sicily’s grapes in their wines.  The island estate pursued an unconventional approach to winemaking, with Planeta establishing a cult following for its barrel-aged Chardonnay, at a time when most other Italian whites were typically consumed straight out of the fermenter. This early success gave Planeta the credibility it needed to open the world’s eyes to the charms of Sicily’s indigenous grape varieties, ushering in a broad range of wines that today owes as much to Grecanico and Nero d’Avola as it does to the winery’s signature Chardonnay.

See blue link below for the excellent fiche technique/technical note from the winemakers themselves.

Planeta Sito dell Ulmo Merlot 2014 - fiche technique

100% Merlot.

A bewitching wine which gently overcomes you. Its uniqueness emerges in a particular way with a diverse but lively structure of tannins and with its strong and intensely savoury taste. This version of a densely ruby coloured Merlot, so rich with the sweet juice of black currant and candied violet which alternates with thyme and lavender, cannot pass unnoticed either by the palate of a refined taste or by that of an enthusiastic novice. It is a multi-faceted and intriguing red wine which combines the pleasure of tannin with an extraordinary persistence of taste.

ABV = 14.5%.

£21.25

Saint Clair Origin Merlot 2016 (1x75cl)

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

The outstanding fruit was sourced predominantly from a single vineyard within the Gimblett Gravels area of Hawkes Bay. The vigour moderating, free draining, gravel soil provides a superb base for the low yielding Merlot. These vineyard sites have ideal ripening conditions for achieving the ripe berry aromatics and balanced tannin structure that Saint Clair Merlot exhibits. The fruit was carefully monitored during ripening; and harvested in the cool evening at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.

The grapes were destemmed into small stainless steel fermenters for a five-day cold soak to help maximise flavour and colour extraction. During fermentation, the wine was hand plunged and occasionally pumped over to gently extract flavour, colour and tannin. Following primary fermentation, the young wine was kept in contact with skins and tasted daily until the desired levels of extraction and balance had been achieved. Once pressed and settled, the wine was then racked to seasoned French oak where it underwent malolactic fermentation. The wine was aged on its light lees, lightly fined and carefully prepared for bottling.

A combination of dark fruit flavours with black plum and ripe blackberry and a touch of liquorice showing a powdered structure reminiscent of fine dark chocolate leading to a lightly spiced and toasty finish.

£13.30

Saint Clair Pioneer Block 17 Plateau Block Merlot 2016 (1x75cl)

Neal and Judy Ibbotson were pioneers in the Marlborough wine industry, first planting vineyards in the valley in 1978 and then establishing Saint Clair Family Estate in 1994. They own 160 hectares of vineyard in 10 different Marlborough locations chosen specifically for the attributes of their individual "terroir" and ability to produce top quality grapes. Neal Ibbotson combines his extensive expertise in viticulture with the talent of one of New Zealand's leading winemaking teams led by Hamish Clark. Since 1994, when wines from the first vintage all won medals including gold, the name Saint Clair has been synonymous with quality and its award-winning record continues today. This is a sentiment shared by Bob Campbell MW, who says “Saint Clair now makes the country’s and perhaps the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc”.

Good settled weather at flowering was followed by a cooler growing period on average, but dry. Some rain just after véraison and a short period of cooler weather looked likely to delay harvest, but settled warm dry weather through the remaining ripening period sped up the flavour development and ripening and contributed to harvest date comparable to most years.

This outstanding fruit was sourced from a single vineyard within the Gimblett Gravels winegrowing area of Hawkes bay. The vigour moderating, free draining gravel provides a superb base for this low cropping Merlot. The flat vineyard, sits atop a plateau with a gradual slope and is situated in a warm and sheltered site, which has ideal ripening conditions for achieving the full aromatic profile and tannin structure that Merlot can give. The fruit was carefully monitored during ripening and harvested in the cool evening at maximum flavour maturity and physiological ripeness.

The fruit was held cold for four days prior to the fermentation to help extract the maximum flavour and to enhance the colour stability. It was then inoculated to carry out the primary alcoholic fermentation, during which the fermenting must was hand plunged up to four times daily and pumped over the skins to help with extraction. When dry, the young wine was pressed and then racked off the gross lees to 50% new French oak and 50% seasoned French oak. The wine underwent a clean malolactic fermentation while ageing in oak for 11 months. It was then gently extracted from the oak, blended and carefully prepared for bottling.

A rich, full bodied and concentrated Merlot, which is loaded with layers of ripe dark berries, damson plums and dark chocolate. The texture is silky smooth with subtle flavours of new leather, cigar box and heated spices, leading to a long savoury finish.

Delicious with lightly spiced exotic dishes.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians.

£17.05

Saint Etalon Merlot Vin de Pays d'Oc 2016 (1x75cl)

Saint Etalon is made by Foncalieu, one of the most forward-looking, energetic and quality-focused cooperatives in France. Over 1,600 growers are members with over 7,500ha of vines spread right across the south of France.

Low temperature pre-fermentation takes place, which is then followed by a 3 week long alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures of 25-26°C. There is gentle extraction and pumping-over is also used. The wine is matured on its lees for another 3 weeks and completes its second fermentation in tanks.

This easy-drinking red wine has an elegant nose of ripe berry fruit. Well-balanced, round and smooth on the palate.

This wine is suitable for vegetarians and vegans.

£8.05

Steenberg Merlot 2016 (1x 75cl)

Steenberg was the Cape’s first farm, which was established in 1682 and has certainly come a long way from its humble beginnings. In addition to the vineyard there is now a restaurant, hotel and golf course for visitors to enjoy. The vineyard team at Steenberg always strive to give their best to the wines by cultivating the vineyards to produce the healthiest grapes of the best quality. Their philosophy is that the "wines are grown in the vineyard and then cared for in the winery". Special attention was therefore placed in obtaining the very best and latest known clones and matched to the correct soils and slopes. Environmentally considerate farming practices are employed as far as possible, with the help of non-toxic, natural formulas of pest control, and the employment of natural predators for help in keeping the grapes as healthy as possible.

This wine is 100% Merlot.

To see an excellent information sheet and tasting note for this wine, please click on the blue link below.

Steenberg Merlot 2016 - fiche technique

£15.40
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