Merlot Coonawarra South Australia
The 2004 Petaluma Coonawarra Merlot will be a long lived wine, as the best cool vintages have proven to be since the inaugural 1990. 2004 continues the recent tradition of being a blend of the best parcels of fruit from the Evans and Sharefarmers Vineyards. Both these mature vineyards produced small crops (6 tonne per hectare) in 2004, a result of a very cool, dry year. A generous, ripe Merlot with a delicate spicy lift, abundant tannins and significant texture, and is further complexed by a hint of Coonawarra mint.
Merlot was hand picked, transported to the Petaluma Winery at Piccadilly, de-stemmed and partially crushed. The juice was inoculated with a Petaluma yeast strain, once a day the fermenting juice is drained off and then gently pumped back up. After 21 days on skins the wine was drained, the skins gently pressed and the wine gravity fed to new Alliers and Nevers oak barriques. Malo-lactic fermentation was then conducted in barrique and at its completion, the wine was racked out, sulphured and then returned to barrel. This clarifying racking was done every six months for the twenty months the wine was in barrel. The final racking was followed by a gentle egg white fining and gravity settling, before bottling without filtration.
A blue-black, dark cherry colour with a nose showing intense blackberry and plum, essences of meat, a bit of sweet stalk, briar and spices, sour and sweet black cherry. Aromatic with a significant tannin structure underwriting its ageing potential. The palate shows a pleasant woodiness, with some fruits lurking in the background, but the real beauty of this wine is the ribena-like acidity, it works ying and yang with the intense plummy nature of the Merlot, and develops into a spectrum of delightfully varied fruit flavours all the way to the finish. Throughout it's creamy oak and homemade fruit preserve nature, it remains faithful to it's Coonawarra origin, a dominant wine class and immense flavour profile.