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Major Series Merlot, Ernie Els

Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.

All the hallmarks of a classic Merlot with ripe plums and earthy notes supported by a core of minerality and fleshed out with ripe strawberry, forest underfloor, hint of chocolate, and a deepening of dark black berry laced with a hint caramel and oak spice. The savoury palate is coated in sweet, attractive oak with distinct salty edge. Medium bodied, fresh yet serious with good line of acidity and clean to end. A blend of 94% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc.

Technical analysis

ALCOHOL

14.5 %

RESIDUAL SUGAR

3.0 g/L

pH

3.38

ACIDITY

5.9 g/L

ORIGIN

South Africa

WINEMAKER

Louis Strydom

VARIETY

Merlot

FINED USING

Egg white

TIME IN OAK

14 months

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION

Yes

CLOSURE

Cork

BOTTLE SIZE

75cl

REGION

Stellenbosch

VEGETARIAN

Yes

VEGAN

No

Vintage conditions

The previous growing season had its challenges, which seemed to roll over into the 2016/2017 growing season with the continuation of the drought. Winter 2016 was quite dry with even less rain than the previous year, while spring quickly passed straight into warmer summer days. Bud burst was good due to sufficient soil moisture, but with the warmer spring/summer weather the soil started losing moisture quickly, resulting in naturally reduced shoot growth. The vineyard then focused its energy on developing and ripening the small bunches, with smaller berries leading to more concentrated colour and flavour. The dry conditions also meant that both the vineyards and grapes were very healthy. With moderate, but warm days during December and January the start of harvest returned to its normal date. The uninterrupted warmth during harvest also helped the bunches reach optimal ripeness while the berries steadily developed flavours over a slightly longer period of time.

Vinification details

The hand-picked bunches arrived at the winery in the morning, and were then sorted and destemmed. Whole berries were fermented in open top tanks as well as in barrels with intermittent pump-overs and punch downs to ensure a balance between flavour, colour and tannin extraction from the skins. All ferments were meticulously monitored during fermentation to ensure that all the natural aromas and flavours were preserved and highlighted as required. After primary fermentation some batches were left on the skins for extended maceration as required. The batches were pressed and transferred to a combination of old and new oak for maturation separately (micro-vinified) before blending and eventual bottling.

Green credentials

Accredited Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) estate.

 

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Major Series Merlot, Ernie Els

Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.

The 2016 Merlot is medium in body and textbook in character. Classically built, it offers a mélange of stewed fruit, chocolate and spice from the nose through to the palate. Notes of dry earth and hints of mint offer complexity, while classy oak notes intertwine with masses of ripe, succulent fruit. A fresh acidity nicely balances the ripe berries and savoury stance, while gutsy tannins offer some good tension and depth.

Technical analysis

ALCOHOL

14.9 %

RESIDUAL SUGAR

3.3 g/L

pH

3.50

ACIDITY

5.9 g/L

ORIGIN

South Africa

WINEMAKER

Louis Strydom

VARIETY

Merlot

FINED USING

Egg white

TIME IN OAK

14 months

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION

Yes

CLOSURE

Cork

BOTTLE SIZE

75cl

REGION

Stellenbosch

VEGETARIAN

Yes

VEGAN

No

Vintage conditions

Good reserves were accumulated during the post-harvest period (April and May), after which leaf fall occurred mostly at the right time. The winter started off late in most of the regions but the weather conditions were cold enough to break dormancy. Spring came on time and the weather conditions were ideal which led to good, even bud burst. The harvest period started a week early due to the warmer weather and it ended about two weeks earlier.

Vinification details

Grapes were handpicked in the cool of early morning. Whole berries were then fermented in open top tanks and barrels with intermittent pump-overs and punch downs to ensure a balance between flavour, colour and tannin extraction from the skins. All ferments were meticulously monitored during fermentation to ensure that all the natural aromas and flavours were preserved and highlighted as required. After primary fermentation some tanks and barrel underwent extended maceration as required.

Awards

IWC 2019: Silver

Green credentials

Accredited Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) estate.

Have a trade enquiry?
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Major Series Merlot, Ernie Els

Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.

Manages to balance succulent red fruits with a savoury complexity; whiffs of tomato leaf, earth, tobacco and plums are reminiscent of Bordeaux. The palate is more sweet-fruited and juicy however, with cherries and strawberries taking centre stage. The tannins are soft, supported by firm acidity and a long finish. Perhaps the finest vintage to date!

Technical analysis

ALCOHOL

14.6 %

RESIDUAL SUGAR

3.1 g/L

pH

3.64

ACIDITY

6.3 g/L

ORIGIN

South Africa

WINEMAKER

Louis Strydom

VARIETY

Merlot

HARVEST DATE

February 2017

FINED USING

Egg white

TIME IN OAK

14 months

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION

Yes

CLOSURE

Cork

BOTTLE SIZE

75cl

REGION

Stellenbosch

VEGETARIAN

Yes

VEGAN

No

Vintage conditions

The vintage will be remembered as one of the driest and earliest in years, with a somewhat smaller wine grape harvest promising exceptional wines. Good reserves were accumulated during the post-harvest period in April and May, after which leaf fall generally occurred at the right time. A cold, wet winter led to the accumulation of sufficient cold units for the full breaking of dormancy, which contributed to even bud break. Warm weather in August resulted in earlier bud break, after which a warm, dry and windy summer kept vineyard growth under control and accelerated ripening by approximately two weeks. The dry weather also led to one of the healthiest seasons in years, with almost no losses due to diseases or rot.

Vinification details

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were carefully removed and grape bunches were gently destalked. Fermentation took place in both 3-ton and 7-ton open-top stainless steel tanks. The wines were pumped-over and punched-down manually 3 to 5 times per day to ensure maximum colour extraction from the skins. After primary fermentation the wines was left on skins for an additional 7 – 14 days before pressing. Each variety is maturated separately (micro-vinified) in oak barrels before blending and eventual bottling.

Awards

Veritas 2017: Silver

Green credentials

Accredited Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) estate.

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Major Series Merlot, Ernie Els

Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.

The 2014 Ernie Els Merlot abounds with ripe plums, figs and cherry. It is soft and juicy on the entry with a delicate floral expression that follows from nose to palate. Medium bodied and fine, an earthy complexity adds depth, while notes of Swiss chocolate give a luxurious feel. The firm tannins are balanced by a red-berry crunch and a long savoury finish.

Technical analysis

ALCOHOL

14.8 %

RESIDUAL SUGAR

3.2 g/L

pH

3.65

ACIDITY

5.9 g/L

ORIGIN

South Africa

WINEMAKER

Louis Strydom

VARIETY

Merlot

HARVEST DATE

March 2014

FINED USING

Egg white

TIME IN OAK

14 months

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION

Yes

CLOSURE

Cork

BOTTLE SIZE

75cl

REGION

Stellenbosch

Vintage conditions

Initial vineyard growth was slow due to late cold fronts experienced during August 2013 followed by cool, wet weather at the start of the growing season. Mid-November created challenging spraying conditions and limited access to the vineyards. As a result, downy mildew led to crop losses early on in the season in some of the red wine areas. Thereafter, favourable climatic conditions improved for flowering and good berry set ensued. The high rainfall in mid-November did however spark vigorous growth which required extra input to ensure superior grape quality and disease prevention through good canopy aeration and sunlight exposure. Widespread rainfall during early January increased pressure on viticulturists to prevent disease and rot. Ideal dry and moderate conditions reigned during ripening in January and mid-February after which a warm period accelerated ripening and resulted in great pressure on harvest intakes. Moderate weather conditions during the harvest season contributed to intense red wines.

Vinification details

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were carefully removed. Grape bunches were gently destalked and lightly crushed. Fermentation took place in 7-ton, open-top stainless steel tanks with yeast WE 372 being added to the juice. The wines were pumped-over and punched-down manually five times per day to ensure maximum colour extraction from the skins. After primary fermentation the maceration period was 10 – 16 days before pressing. The wine was then maturated in French oak barrels before eventual bottling.

Awards

IWSC 2016: Silver
Veritas 2016: Silver

Green credentials

Accredited Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) estate.

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The 2013 Merlot [...] has a plush, pure bouquet with black cherry and cassis fruit that is nicely defined.

eRobertParker.com

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Major Series Merlot, Ernie Els

Named in recognition of Ernie Els' golfing achievements, Major Series also reflects the premium nature of the wines from this South African estate.

The 2013 Merlot is a touch lighter than the brooding and rich 2012. The nose is soft and inviting with dried provençal herbs, cherries, plums and just a hint of dark bitter chocolate. The palate is medium-bodied with sweet, red fruits and further complexity from notes of cigar-box and wet earth. The fruity tannins are fine and somewhat delicate, adding a silky texture to a long spicy finish.

Technical analysis

ALCOHOL

14.5 %

RESIDUAL SUGAR

2.6 g/L

pH

3.56

ACIDITY

5.8 g/L

ORIGIN

South Africa

WINEMAKER

Louis Strydom

VARIETY

Merlot

HARVEST DATE

March 2013

FINED USING

Egg white

TIME IN OAK

14 months

SULPHUR

Total: 82 Free: 34

MALOLACTIC FERMENTATION

Yes

CLOSURE

Cork

BOTTLE SIZE

75cl

REGION

Stellenbosch

Vintage conditions

The 2013 harvest season started a week later than usual. Prolonged winter conditions continued in some areas up until September, followed by a cool spring which delayed bud burst by 7 to 14 days. The cold, wet weather conditions ensured even bud burst as well as the accumulation of water supplies that would allow the vineyards to cope with the warmer conditions later in the season. Ideal weather conditions during the harvest season prevailed with moderate day-time temperatures, cool evenings and no prolonged spells of rain or heat waves; this all impacted positively on grape quality and established good colour and flavour.

Vinification details

The grapes were hand-picked in the cool of early morning. On the sorting table, all excess stalks and inferior berries were carefully removed before grape bunches were gently destalked and lightly crushed. Fermentation took place in 7-ton, open-top stainless steel tanks. The wines were pumped-over and punched-down manually 5 times per day to ensure maximum colour extraction from the skins. After primary fermentation the maceration period was 10 – 16 days before pressing. Aged for 14 months in 300 litre French oak barrels (20% new).

Green credentials

Accredited Integrated Production of Wine (IPW) estate.

Have a trade enquiry?
Contact us to discuss