54.38 2007Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 This is a blend of 2 cultivars. The name 54.38 originates from the distance in kilometres between the two blocks of grapes used for this wine - 90% Merlot 2007 from Schapenberg near Somerset West and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Wellington. I’ve often had the questions: “Would 10% Cab make any difference at all?”, and: “Why a 2008 Cab with a 2007 Merlot?” The Story
This is a blend of 2 cultivars. The name 54.38 originates from the distance in kilometres between the two blocks of grapes used for this wine - 90% Merlot 2007 from Schapenberg near Somerset West and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon 2008 from Wellington. I’ve often had the questions: “Would 10% Cab make any difference at all?”, and: “Why a 2008 Cab with a 2007 Merlot?”
I started the blend off with a base wine which had been in barrel for 15 months. All the barrels were French oak 225liter barrels. The grapes came from quite a large block situated on the slopes of Schapenberg, close to Somerset West. The slope faces south and is situated in a relatively cool part of South Africa - ideal terroir for the production of quality Merlot.
The base wine Merlot had a fresh green minty nose with bright red cherries, firm acidity and a soft tannin structure. I felt, however, that the wine lacked a bit of intensity in terms of some darker fruit as well as a bit of tannin. I phoned a few contacts in the wine industry and we started experimenting with blends. We finally decided to blend in a full-bodied blackberry bomb from Wellington, to compliment the Merlot. The final product: BLANKbottle 54.38.
I am sitting with a glass in hand at this very moment, and would like to share my tasting experience with you. On the nose I get subtle hints of freshly cut mint leaves with an explosion of freshly picked red cherries and a hint of spiciness. The longer the wine spends time in the glass, the more I pick up blackberries and gooseberries. On the pallet: This wine has a relatively high acidity, which carries the fruit across your tongue towards the back of your mouth. The first thing I notice is the length of the wine - all the way to the back of your mouth. Prominent tannins, but soft enough, bring fullness to the wine. The fruit is again a burst of ripe red cherries, topped off with a bit of strawberry.
I bottled the wine in September 2008 and the wine therefore needs a bit of time in the bottle to settle. The flavour components needs to integrate and I would guess that the wine will be best from June 2009 until June 2011 - but the way I know my clients the wine will be way gone by then.
OFFICIAL ANALYSIS LABORATORY REPORT
Alcohol Vol% 14.38
Total extract g/l 32.8
Residual sugar g/l 3.3
Sugarfree extract g/l 30.5
Total acid g/l 6.6
Volatile acidity g/l 0.76
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