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1996 Irvine Grand Merlot
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- Closure: Cork
Notes Sourced from Irvine Wines (www.irvinewines.com.au)
The intriguing plummy depths, full complete racy flavours; balancing tannins and premium oak interaction, with overall complexity and satisfaction of style is how the Irvine “Grand Merlot” is perceived. The Grand Merlot comes only after quite some years planning. To establish the style, Merlot wines both unblended and partially blended were tasted, read about, and made, over many years. Wines and articles came from all over the world to see if there was a consensus of style. Thankfully there doesn’t seem to be such a thing, so we were able to choose those alternatives that best suited our ability and our vineyard.
As is critical with Merlot, this site is very well drained because of the sub-strata of gravel. The trellis is based on the two wire vertical system and part machine harvested with the rest hand harvested. The sites chosen face east/west, and north to catch the warm sun late in the season when the days are very short and we wait for the baume to reach 14.5º or better. The picking takes place around midday to avoid any possibility of dew pick-up and to ensure the crushed grapes are warm to start the ferment.
Lesser oak allows the fruit to show even more plum and cherry characters while a firmness of palate will serve the wine well as it ages, giving back-bone to draw on. The whole flavour is so lively and complex that palate interest is maximised and so rewarding.
Maturation in new and used Allier oak takes place for up to three years, giving the desired notes to the finish while retaining the nose and spiciness of the oak.
Grand Merlot will remain a release age of four plus years, with a minimum of 30-33 months in oak and a year (if possible) in bottle.
Great plummy fruit on both bouquet and palate, with plenty of vinous herbaceous complexities complemented by the judicious use of new oak and older casks.