Could cool-climate Elgin be the district most suited to producing South Africa’s best Merlot? Shannon Vineyards has produced a high-quality version ever since its maiden 2007 but has been something of an anomaly with none of its neighbours producing anything particularly remarkable from any of the Bordeaux grapes, least of all fickle Merlot.
Now, however, Shannon might have some competition in the form of Almenkerk, the current-release 2013 being particularly elegant and refined. On the nose, red and black cherry, some attractive herbal character, violets, oystershell and just the right amount of chocolate and spice. The palate is medium bodied with lemon-like acidity and fine, crunchy tannins. Very flavourful without being at all weighty. Wine Cellar price: R225 a bottle.
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