Wednesday, May 01, 2019

Elgin Cool Wine Festival - Shannon Mount Bullet vertical

Sunday morning was a bit of a rush, as we thought we had overslept; had a very quick breakfast of toast, tea and coffee and then rushed to Shannon for their Vertical tasting, only to find that we were an hour early! Owners Stuart (Marketing and Sales) and James (Viticulturist) were manning the Festival bar
The views from Shannon of the Palmiet river and valley are absolutely stunning
And below the red autumnal vines are three modern Deutz tractors,
as James says, paid for by the apples and pears they also grow
Time to take our seats for the Vertical tasting of Mount Bullet Merlot, often recognised as the best merlot in South Africa
These three young men work in the in the industry - two for Wine Concepts and the other for L’Avenir
It was a very relaxed Sunday morning and Shannon was a very popular venue to visit, despite being a bit off the highway
A warm welcome from James Downes
The festival was pet friendly, as long as they were on leads
We saw numerous dogs and one small, very docile, black cat, brought by the visitors!
The wines are made for Shannon by Nadia and Gordon Newton Johnson. James wanted to know if we could tell where the wine starts to change as it ages, at what age the tasters want to start drinking it and if there is a correlation between vintage variation and climate, which we believe is visible. Shannon has 50% French Merlot clones and 50% Italian. They have 3 hectares of Merlot, all on East facing slopes. The cool climate of Elgin means that ripening is slow, which merlot needs and, as they say, “Good even ripeness” is the key
Christine Rudman bringing the dogs some water. She was the principal of the Cape Wine Academy
when we were awarded our Diplomas and is now a wine judge. She runs the Michelangelo Wine Awards each year
We began with the youngest vintage of Mount Bullet Merlot, the currently available 2016, which sells for R465 on the farm
Notes of rose, rich dark cherry and red berry fruit initially
Black cherry fruit on entry with dry chalky tannins, dark toast from the wood and a long finish with a hint of liquorice
Infanticide to drink now; buy to put away as it has such class that it will develop beautifully and pay dividends
Enjoying the wine. The 2015 has a beautiful nose of seductive, rich berry fruit that you want to dive into
Silky soft, with chalky tannin, rich berry fruit and nice freshness and tension. It needs time too
A long finish with some umami flavours and dark toasted wood supporting, not overwhelming
The 2014 has milk chocolate and cherry with a hint of amaretto on the nose and is also soft and seductive
Full-on salty liquorice and black cherries on the palate, with soft, chalky tannins and freshness on the end
A food wine. Lynne scored this 19/20
The 2013 is shyer, but has a similar nose and is more integrated, with cherry fruit and a hint of balsam
Softer, shyer again on the palate with very grippy, chalky tannins, and some warmth and freshness on the end
This wine is resting, gathering itself for a big reveal in the future
The 2012 has cherries and smoke, a rich fruit nose with rose petals
Wonderful bright cherry fruit, soft chalk on the teeth, not the cheeks, lighter in style but delicious to drink now
Some umami notes
The 2011 so impressed. It is an integrated wine, very French in style - you cannot distinguish separate fruit flavours
It has lovely complex fruit, its opulence is rich and full, with depth of flavour and structure from soft ready tannins,
some chocolate, some umami and dark oak hints on the end palate. Reminds us of a St Emilion
Another 19/20 and a wine we wish we had bought. If you have some, you are very fortunate
Another view of that beautiful Palmiet river.
In the tent, people enjoying the wine and food
We tasted just a couple more wines before we left for the next farm; the very excellent Semillon which, at first, shows a slight sweetness on the palate but then reveals its secrets and its crisp and rich rounded mouthfeel. We wondered if there is a touch of botrytis on this? And the Pinot Noir, a classic Elgin with beautiful fruit and the aroma of raspberries and roses does show the style of the Newton Johnsons
Happy wine people James and Stuart Downes
The taco stand was doing well
And you could help yourself to some of these lovely Pink Lady apples
All content ©  John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus

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