Ernie Els Merlot 2016

Challenging conditions led to a reduced wine grape crop for South African producers in 2016, but grapes were healthy and concentrated flavours promise good wines. The weather was very warm, especially from the end of October towards the end of January, which restricted the growth and constituted lower bunch masses and smaller berries. However, the dry conditions led to the grapes being very healthy overall. Smaller berries led to more concentrated colour and flavour on the positive side and good wines are expected from the 2016 harvest. Good reserves were accumulated during the post-harvest period (April and May), after which leaf fall occurred mostly at the right time. The winter started off late in most of the regions but the weather conditions were cold enough to break dormancy. Spring came on time and the weather conditions were ideal which led to good, even bud burst. The harvest period started a week early due to the warmer weather and it ended about two weeks earlier. The wines from the 2016 vintage appear astoundingly good, with great structure and good flavours. 

  • Tasting Notes

    The 2016 Merlot is medium in body and textbook in character. Classically built, it offers a mélange of stewed fruit, chocolate and spice from the nose through to the exotic palate. Notes of dry earth and hints of mint offer complexity, while classy oak notes intertwine with masses of ripe, succulent fruit. A fresh acidity nicely balances the ripe berries and savoury stance, while gutsy tannins offer some good tension and depth. The finish is powerfully textured and dry, offering a platform for 5 - 8 years cellaring.

  • Technical Analysis

    Alc. 14.88% by Vol.
    R.S. 3.3 g/l
    T.A. 5.9 g/l
    pH 3.50 

  • Blend Information

    Merlot 100% 

  • In The Vineyard

    The Merlot vineyards grow on the warm, north-facing slopes of the Helderberg region within the Stellenbosch appellation. The Hutton Clovelly soils contain a high gravel content which offers rich middle palate weight giving this wine exceptional depth and fruit purity. With an altitude of approximately 250 metres above sea level together with the cooling influence of the Atlantic ocean just 15 kilometres away, this extends the ripening period by up to 3 weeks, resulting in lovely phenolic ripeness.

  • About The Harvest

    March & April, 2016. 24.5° Brix average sugar at harvest