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1998 Petaluma Coonawarra Merlot
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- Cellar 8 - 10 years (2008-2010)
- Closure: Cork
The Petaluma Grapes are sourced from two vineyards. The Evans vineyard is located in the heart of Coonawarra and consists of 7.5 acres of mature vines. The second source of grapes comes from the Petaluma Sharefarmers vineyards outside the deliniated Coonawarra district, but on similar Terra Rossa soils. The Sharefarmers vineyard consists of 10 acres of 17 year old vines. Both vineyards are meticulously maintained with viticultural practice being conducted on a similar basis to classed growth Bordeaux.The fascination for Merlot seems to be epidemic around the world- in California, New Zealand, Chile, Italy, France and Australia, there seems to be a quest among winemakers to surpass the great wine of Pomerol- Chateau Petrus. Chateau Petrus will argue that no matter how hard the rest of the world tries, they will never be able to replicate the greatest wine of Pomerol- the reason why rests with the terroir. Petrus is located on a clay mole. And Merlot likes to have plenty of moisture during the ripening period- and the clay, colloidal particles, seem to hold in the moisture very well. The micro climate of Petrus is also very different. It is a unique part of Pomerol and can not be replicated anywhere else. There is also another secret to Petrus, and that is in the winemaking, but we’re sure that the worlds winemakers have worked that one out. The growing conditions for the 1998 Petaluma Merlot were ideal, with 1998 being generally recognised as the best vintage in Coonawarra in memory and arguable the best vintage of the century. The demand for the1998 Merlot is expected to outstrip the supply many times over, as the rest of the world scrambles for an allocation of this outstanding wine. It is a recent phenomena in the Australian wine industry. Great wines are never sold anymore, they are allocated to a few specialist merchants who then place these wines with their best customers.
Brian Croser reports that the “ 1998 vintage was significantly cooler at 1401 degrees Celsius heat summation as against the districts average of 1414 degrees Celsius.” Both the Petaluma Merlot vineyards were drought affected which resulted in a diminished berry size “to the smallest in memory.” The crop level was higher than normal at 8 tonnes per hectare (3.2 tonnes per acre) which still produced a concentrated wine, with almost perfume like aromas.The wine was matured in new Nevers and Alliers oak casks and bottled after 18 months oak maturation.
TASTING NOTE: Deep crimson, mauve colour. But without the opacity of previous vintages. Magnificent nose- pure sniffing pleasure, with abundant aromas of mulberry, cedar, spice and violets. The palate structure is very refined- and displays the strength of the vintage, with flavours of confectionery and marzipan. Superfine, velvet smooth tannins, with slightly warn back palate and exceptionally long aftertaste. An outstanding wine. Cellar 8-10 years