Shannon Vineyards Black 2016

By , 15 October 2020



The acclaimed Mount Bullet Merlot from Elgin property Shannon Vineyards is made from 3ha of vineyard planted to five different clones. The wine labelled as Black is a bottling of one particular clone, the 2016 vintage made from MO192, originally an Italian selection.

Matured for 20 months in French oak, 50% new, the nose shows blue fruit, a touch of olive and turned earth while the palate is rich and broad – dense fruit to go with bright acidity before a savoury finish. As ever, it provides a fascinating insight into how Mount Bullet is eventually assembled. Price: R1 500 a bottle.

CE’s rating: 91/100.

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2 comment(s)

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    Dion Martin | 15 October 2020

    Dear Christian

    Could you provide a bit more detail. Clearly at R1500 pb, clonal selection etc this is an ambitious project. 91 points isn’t to be scoffed at, yet I am sure those at Shannon Vineyards would be rather disappointed. I note that Tim Atkin scored the same wine 96 points, and the 2015 you scored 92 and he scored 98 points. Clearly he believes that the wines are truly world class and clearly you don’t. Please provide a bit more context, reasons for the score. Your tasting note is rather terse, and a bit more info would help me and your readers understand the reasons for your score.

      Christian Eedes | 15 October 2020

      Hi Dionysus, I tasted the 2016 next to the Mount Bullet 2017 (Top 10 in the Prescient Merlot Report of this year) as well as the 2015 vintages of Mount Bullet and Black and the maiden 2013 vintage of Black.

      Both the 2015s originally rated 92 on this site and to my mind, the 2016 is a shade behind these two wines. I have to say the 2015s are drinking very well indeed right now and I would be inclined to score them a point or two higher as a result.

      The key issue to consider when drinking multi-clone Mount Bullet alongside single-clone Black is to what extent the former is more complex by virtue of the whole being greater than the some of parts or whether the latter is clearer and more distinct due to being effectively both a vineyard and barrel selection – I tend to think that generally Mount Bullet pips Black for complexity.

      I don’t really want to have yet another debate about whether my scores are too high or too low, except to say that having convened the Merlot Report for four years running now, I think that I’ve got a pretty good fix on the state of the category – the Mount Bullet 2015 emerged as best wine overall when it got its score of 92 in 2018.

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