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Shannon Vineyards Merlot 2003

Shannon Vineyards co-owner Stuart Downes and sisters.

On Saturday, a gourmet dinner featuring the wines of Shannon Vineyards, the venue being The Venue on Elgin property South Hill. Shannon have fairly burst on to the scene, this producer much acclaimed for its Merlot in particular with the 2008 (only the second ever official release) rating 5 Stars in the 2011 edition of Platter’s.

What a treat then to sample the 2003 vintage Merlot with a main course of red wine poached beef fillet, pancetta pommes puree, butternut fondant and roast red pepper emulsion.  James Downes, Shannon viticulturist and co-owner along with brother Stuart termed it an “R&D wine”, the 2003 crop of Merlot divided between two winemakers, the one half being vinified by Andries Burger of Paul Cluver Estate and put away as library stock and the other by Neil Ellis, this ending up under a Woolworths label and long since sold out.

The 2003 as made by Burger was knock-out. On the nose, red and black fruit, leafiness and earthiness. The palate appeared remarkably primary with fruit still very much intact, bright acidity before firm but fine tannins. Obviously picked less rather than more ripe, the wine was not however excessively green but displayed a wonderful coolness about it (score: 17.5/20).

This was served alongside the Mount Bullet 2009, nominated for but ultimately not achieving a rating of 5 Stars in Platter’s 2012. Very impressive but a huge contrast in styles, this wine appeared big, rich and polished with great fruit intensity and firm tannins (score: 16.5/20).



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