Last night over a rather tasty dinner of beef fillet I opened one of the two bottles of the Mount Bullet 2007 I bought from the brilliant lot over at Under the Influence. I haven’t had the best of times with South African Merlot, recently finding many examples to be over oaked or too green, and quite a lot rather boring. Two that stand out for me are the Hartenberg 2007, and the Noble Hill 2006. Up to now my favourite SA merlot was the Stark-Condé 2005 which, unfortunately, was its last vintage.
Thank the gods I have found a replacement, but with only 10 barrels made, and a hefty price tag (R235 from the website) I doubt I will be having lots of it. I wish I could though, I wish I could drink this for breakfast, for elevenses, for lunch, tea, dinner, and a couple glasses for a midnight snack.
The wine making team at Shannon has put a lot of effort into creating this bliss in a bottle. They have planted five different clones in a three hectare vineyard. Each of these parcels are vinified and matured separately. Apparently at harvest there can be a difference of 11-14 days between picking the different clones. If you want more info the technical notes are here. The end result is a Merlot that you probably wont want to share; unless you and all your friends are wine nerds and you want to impress.
I didn’t take any tasting notes last night, but what I remember clearly was the herbal characteristics, and the ripe red fruits like plums and cherry. I also adored the earthy character that started to come through toward the end of the bottle (which came far too soon); you know me, I love a bit if loam. The acidity was brilliantly balanced with the fine tannins, giving the wine a delectable freshness. The oak, a combination of first (50%), second (20%), third (20%) and fourth (10%) fill French barrels was seamlessly worked in. This is the elegant aloof beauty that steals the attention away from the page-three tarts every time. This is the best South African Merlot I have ever tasted.
The one criticism I can see being levelled against it is the bottle, which weighs about 100kgs. But those critics are the green, lentil eating, Noordhoek living, Prius driving nincompoops whose favourite pastime, second only to saving whales, is spoiling the fun. Now, as much as I don’t really believe that, after drinking this wine if heard someone criticise the bottle I’d want to run them over with a Hummer, and then throw a Big Mac in their face.