Bigmouth Merlot 2018
Visual: Bright and dark garnet colour with nuances of purple and dark cherry. Heavy and slow legs. Nose: Intense and aromatic bouquet of red and black berries, red and black plums, spicy vanilla oak with hint of undergrowth and wild berries. Second nose is creamier with nuances of wildberry pie, ripe blueberries and white pepper. Palate: Firm but elegant attack on ripe black fruits and mature, smooth tannins. Weighty midpalate filled with fruit and oak spice supported by a nice tension on minerality and freshness. Persistent final focuses on fresh berries, smooth texture with nuances of vanilla beans.
2018 was a tough vintage, very hot all summer followed by a cool wet fall. The key to the vintage was patience, we got a lot of ripeness during the hot period but had to wait until we achieved full physiological ripeness. The grapes for this wine were hand harvested from our estate vineyard. After picking the grapes were hand sorted and then de-stemmed and transferred to stainless steel tans by gravity for fermentation. Once in tank the grapes were chilled and held without fermenting for 8 days to start the gentle extraction of colour, tannin, and aromatics. During this cold soak, the grapes were mixed twice a day under a blanket of carbon dioxide to avoid oxidation. At the end of the cold soak the grapes were warmed and a selected yeast was added to begin the fermentation process. Fermentation was done at 26 degrees, warm enough to draw out colour etc, but not so warm that any underripe characters would be extracted. During fermentation the wine underwent 2-3 pumpovers a day until 7% alcohol was achieved, at which point 1-2 pumpovers were used. The wine underwent a full malo lactic fermentation. At the end of fermentation, the free run wine was drained to a settling tank and the skins were pressed to a separate tank. After settling, only the free run wine was transferred to French oak barrels for aging. A diverse selection of barrels were used for aging, all chosen to help highlight the wine and create complexity. Only 18% new barrels were used and barrel aging lasted 16 months.
Food Pairing Notes
Red Meat: beef, lamb, duck. Pasta Bolognese, Mediterranean dishes. Charcuterie and cheese.