Introducing the 2016 Berrigan Wines Merlot from the exciting and newly matured wine regions of Robe and Mount Benson in South Australia.
This 2016 Merlot is a great example of Merlot when it’s bright and fresh, and we made this wine to show you how beautiful this grape variety can be when it’s grown in a cool climate (and carefully made to be released early). Not every red wine shows better with age, and often the subtle nuances found in Merlot can be lost with maturation, so we highly recommend enjoying this wine upon release every year.
“The 2016 vintage gave us Merlot of deep colour with delicate tannins and beautiful floral and red fruit flavours, due to the long and cool, yet sunny ripening season. This particular Merlot is made from fruit sourced from both Robe and Mt Benson, both of which share similar climates, soils and locations, however the differences in fruit flavours were enough that I chose to present this wine as a blend of the two.”
“As a winemaker making red wines, time is your friend. Time softens red wine with little effort, and brings the mouth-feel into balance with it’s flavours, however because I wanted to release this wine so early, it needed a lot more concentration and blend trial work from myself to bring the beautiful young flavours, tannins and acidity into balance.” Dan Berrigan
Did you know that since the movie Sideways was released, the popularity of Merlot has plummeted both in the US and in Australia, yet the popularity (and price) of First Growth Bordeaux red wines (which contain varying proportions of Merlot) have sky rocketed?
Was the movie communicating what we all think, we’re not sure it was. Perhaps Merlot has lost popularity because it has been made the same way as Shiraz and Cabernet Sauvignon?
“As I Winemaker, I often feel the wines I produce are like my children. Merlot from Mt Benson and Robe would (for comparison) have a natural talent for ballet and music, so I’m not going to sign it up to play rugby or woodwork. It’s about encouraging the natural strengths of each grape variety and gently guiding the wine from the vineyard to the bottle so these natural strengths and characteristics of the grape variety are visible for you to see in the finished wine.”
“For me this vintage, it entailed picking the fruit when the flavours were at a maximum, not when the tannins or the sugars were. It involved gently de-stemming the fruit without crushing the grapes so that the seed tannins were not released into the wine. A short period of cold skin contact before inoculation was used to extract the delicate and fragile flavours and flavour-precursors from the Merlot skins, followed by a 7 day ferment to capture these flavours while encouraging further development of the wine’s complexity from the ferment. Malo-lactic fermentation was completed alongside primary fermentation (yeast fermentation) for a quicker, cleaner and more efficient finish.”
“After 7 days on skins, the Merlot was gently pressed off, and only the best portions were kept. Malo-lactic fermentation was further encouraged through warming to finish within 2 weeks after pressing so that I could capture the nuances in the wine as soon as possible. Oak was not used for the very same reason as my whites, as I wish to highlight the beauty in this wine and show you how great Merlot can be when young and pure.” Dan Berrigan