Special guest at the second annual HelloMerlot keynote dinner, hosted by Rupert & Rothschild Vignerons, was Kimberlee Nicholls of Markham Vineyards in Napa, California who showed the following wines: Duckhorn Three Palms Vineyard 2013, Keenan Mailbox Vineyard 2013, Mt. Brave 2013, Markam Yountville Estate Vineyards 2013 and Pahlmeyer 2013. All immaculately made but respective alcohols were 14.9%, 14.3%, 15%, 15% and 15.2% – big and bold is putting it mildly. Needless to say, the Keenan including 5% Cabernet Franc was my preferred wine.
The evening culminated in a taste of Overgaauw Cape Independent Winemakers Guild D.C. Classic 1983 from magnum, a wine consisting of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and a follow up to the Merlot 1982 from this farm, the first ever wine to be made from this variety in South Africa.
On the nose, red cherry and herbs while the palate was light and fresh with a winning sweet ‘n sour character, some savoury tug on the finish. Not necessarily profound but still very much intact and a pleasure to drink. Current winemaker David van Velden that the wine would’ve only undergone partial malolactic fermentation as this process was still a bit of a mystery at the time while maturation would’ve taken place in 4000-litre vats.
Editor’s rating: 92/100.
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