Durbanville Hills Collector’s Reserve The Lighthouse Merlot 2017, perfect with a tranche of Dalewood Fromage Huguenot.

Friday, 2 August, 2019
Durbanville Hills Cellar
Durbanville Hills founding Cellarmaster Martin Moore has produced a range of wines called Collector’s Reserve. Special grapes from specific vineyards grown in the variety of aspects, altitudes and soils.

The Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve The Lighthouse Merlot 2017 is one of them. Clever labels by Cape Town artist Theo Vorster. Merlot, formerly regarded as a blending wine with Cabernet Sauvignon, a la Bordeaux, has really found a home here in South Africa when planted in the right places. Known as the little blackbird, a diminutive of Merle, french for blackbird.

The major source of Merlot for this wine came from an 18 year old North facing block on the Westerly side of the valley. The remainder of the grapes came from a South facing block, also on the Westerly side of the valley and closer to Table Bay, the source of cooling breezes off the Benguela current which ameliorate Summer heat in the vineyards. These grapes are known for their mulberry flavours.

The grapes, once in the cellar, were destemmed and the berries sorted before being taken to the fermentation tanks. The following morning between 10% and 15% of the free run juice is taken off. This increases the skin to juice ratio which concentrates body, aromas, flavours and colours. During fermentation, regular pump overs took place with manual punch downs taking place in the smaller fermenters. The wine then spent 14 months in extra tight grained French oak barrels, before being prepared for bottling.

From a Bordeaux shaped bottle, closed with natural cork. The label, designed by Theo Vorster depicts the lighthouse at Mouille Point, in a modern expression. In the glass, the wine is a dark bloodplum at the heart which pales out to ruby at the edges. The aromas are of ripe plums, cherries, dark chocolate and oak spice and cherry tobacco. The flavours, from entry, are rich and full, with a thread of fruit acidity running through. Full, generous mid palate with bright fruit and cashmere clad tannins. Lovely glass. And a wine which will only improve with a couple of years of cool cellaring.

The Durbanville Hills Collector’s Reserve The Lighthouse Merlot 2017 is a food wine, good with lamb, beef or pork. Excellent with cheese at the end of a meal, particularly the Dalewood Fromage Huguenot, one year aged. To read more about Dalewood Fromage - Click here.