When it comes to a discussion of South Africa’s best Merlot producers, the usual suspects are Hartenberg, Thelema, Shannon Vineyards and perhaps Bein but Steenberg in Constantia shouldn’t be left out – winemaker JD Pretorius picked up double gold at Veritas for his Merlot 2011 won the Diners Club Young Winemaker of the Year in 2014 for his Merlot 2012.
The current-release 2013 is again pretty smart. Matured for 14 months in French oak, 65% new, it delivers what most punters will be looking for from this variety. On the nose, red and black fruit, mint but this very much in check plus oak-derived notes of milk chocolate and spice. The palate is rich and quite broad, smooth in texture but equally not entirely short of freshness a bottle. Price: R145 a bottle.
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