While almost all Australian Merlot in the bottle is from one clone, this wine, our flagship wine, is a multi-clone blend made from French clones that are new to Australia, on a site that produces fruit a grade or two above what is normally expected of Australian Merlot. These ‘new’ clones grow better and so may be harvested earlier providing a new set of flavour profiles and wine styles for Australian Merlot. This wine aims to be a new benchmark Australian Merlot.
Our parcel at MÉRITE was established in 2006 with a deliberate goal: let’s produce much better Merlot. The 'new' clones were planted on a pristine unplanted site - the French clones were not grafted onto another previously planted vine’s roots which readily influence the upper vine. Each clone was planted in a Phlloxera-free zone on own-roots and low vigour rootstocks vines and on two different soil profiles so that a winemaker may select from a ‘menu of Merlot’ at harvest time.
Each clone was planted with a separate irrigation shift, as we respected the rainfall patterns of where they came from - some clones are directly from France while others journeyed via Italy and Argentina. The parcel is managed with sensitivity to the clones, the varying soils profiles and where they had previously thrived in order to bring out the best in each mini-parcel.
Clonal batches are vinified independently until blending. Why? Each batch creates distinct attributes. One tends to provide floral aromatics, another dried herbs, for example. The blending together of these clonal batches, each showing distinct characteristics, creates a complex, assertive, yet delicate Merlot without needing another variety blended in.
Read Jane Anson's article discussing our work with French clones of Merlot that are new to Australia in Decanter magazine here
Reviews of 2015 MÉRITE Merlot - low inventory
"Bright, juicy, fruit-filled and savoury at once. It’s all laced together with ultra-fine tannin too. We are in pretty classy terrain here. Shaved pencils, black cherries, boysenberries, redcurrant. None of the dreaded mulberry. Flings of earth. It s super succulent and beautifully balanced. It almost feels like it s been painted in watercolours too, almost always a good sign, though there s just a bit more oomph than those words commonly imply. That said, it s a steadfastly medium-bodied wine, with no pretensions for anything more. Just look at the tannin structure of this wine. 94 points" Campbell Mattinson www.winefront.com.au
"Densely scented bouquet with aromas of sweet plum and new oak, violet and clove, wild red berries and liquorice root; as it opens up in the glass the concentration and complexity builds whilst holding onto its very youthful quiver. On the palate – an obvious yet not overdone ripeness and concentration with flavours that reflect the nose centering on plums, some blue fruits and floral moments. The oak is obvious with its youthful attack, but will integrate over time; medium+ (ish) tannins and acidity, well made and drinking well now. Best from 2019 through 2030+. 94 Points" - Cameron Douglas, Master Sommelier www.camdouglasms.com
"I recently tasted the excellent 2015 Mérite Merlot from Wrattonbully" January 2019 Tim Atkin AW
"It's a finer, tighter and more composed wine than most. It allows its internal architecture to be seen and felt without the layering or pillowy padding that can turn many merlots flabby. It offers up aromas of plum skin, violets, snapped twigs and roast tomatoes that draw you into a beautifully shaped, elegantly framed wine with a willowy draping of uber-fine tannins. If this is where Australian merlot is going, then I’m very happy to follow." writes Nick Ryan in The Australian here
“The wines they’re producing with these new clones are at the forefront of a revival of top-quality Merlot in Australia.” Max Allen in the Australian Financial Review here
Another Special Value wine! Read James Halliday's 96 point review - Drink by 2035 here
$60 per bottle.
2015 Mérite Merlot 6 bottle pack
$360 per 6 pack
Mérite Merlot 12 Pack
$720 - 12 bottle case of 2015 Mérite Merlot
A classic cellar-worthy Cabernet grown on Terra Rossa over Limestone soils with the advantage of Australia's best "new clone" Merlot blended in. This wine is a window into a new chapter for Australian Cabernet.
REVIEWS OF THE 2015 VINTAGE - low inventory
"A powerful, rich and ripe (but not too ripe) wine with luscious fruit and oak in an Indian arm-wrestle for dominance. Even now (tasted Feb17) they are evenly matched, so with another 5 or so years the fruit will be foremost. Tannins - both fruit and oak derived - play a significant role and will continue to do so. A classy wine in every way." 96 points Special Value wine Drink til 2035 James Halliday in Wine Companion
"Cellarworthy Cabernet if ever there was one. The. Structure of this is just spot on. Its bold, and complex, but its the tannins, structure and acidity that really impresses. Bay leaves, boysenberry, black currant/Redcurrant and peppercorn notes flush the palate with flavour before herb-infused tannin arrests control. Its aromatic too, classically so. It unfolds beautifully as it rests in the glass." 95 points Drink til 2035+ Campbell Mattinson www.winefront.com.au
94 points in blind Panel Tasting for Limestone Coast Leading Reds in GTWine magazine. “The palate is elegant with succulent berry fruit and fine tannin.” says Toni Paterson MW and “The wine is quite youthful and I found an interplay between blackberry, black currant and garden herbs. There’s an excellent concentration and fine, pleasantly dry tannins to finish” writes Nick Bullied MW. Read more here
$60 per bottle.
2015 Mérite Cabernet 6 bottle pack
$360 per 6 pack
Mérite Cabernet 12 Pack
$720 - 12 bottle case of 2015 Mérite Cabernet
Bright, pale, dry Rosé made from grapes destined for our Merlot wines. This refreshing Rosé was made to highlight the savoury flavours that newer clones can create. Best served slightly chilled.
"All hail Merlot rose! This is a brilliant pink wine imbued with light plummy fruit character of the variety but undeniably delicious blood orange tang, light herbal detail and a pretty core of just-ripe strawberry all conspire here. It is just shy of medium weight for rose, dry, and lightly spicy, generally just delicious and refreshing to drink. Kudos!" 93 points 2019 vintage - Mike Bennie here
"Pale crimson in colour, juicy with fruit, gently textural and then dry through the finish. Every box ticked. Refreshing, juicy, fresh and just plain enjoyable." Campbell Mattinson 92 Points 2020 vintage in The Wine Front
"Refreshing as a spring or summer’s day. Either way, this is delicious. A pale ruby with a copper tinge. It’s tangy with clementine and cranberries, lightly spiced, and lemony acidity leaves a crisp finish." Jane Faulkner 93 points 2020 vintage in Wine Companion
"It tastes of pomegranate and raspberry, it’s fresher than a daisy, it has a semblance of texture and it washes confidently through the finish. Nice wine. Flecked with herbs. Refreshing. Very good to drink." Campbell Mattinson 92 points 2021 vintage
"Rose for grown ups. Would I buy it? Yes." 92 points. 2021 Vintage Andrew Graham OzWinereview.com here
Featured in CellarPress magazine here
$24 per bottle
2021 ROSE 6 bottle pack $144
Now Australia has better clones of Merlot. This is made from just one of them: Q45
What does this "new clone" Merlot taste like?
It's a bold wine with intense fruit flavours, brightness and superfine tannins.
Reviews of the 2016 Q MERLOT
"The balance here is spot on. Its also noticeably void of any alcohol heat, always worth applauding. It tastes of dark chocolate and fresh blue/blackberries, with gunmetal and peppercorn characters as gentle infusions. I always see an iodine character in these wines, and I see it here too though its subtle at most. Its quite a lovely red wine." Campbell Mattinson - 92 points on The Wine Front here www.winefront.com.au
"MERITE has five clones of Merlot, one the long-used (lesser quality) clone, the others 8R, Q45, 343 and 181. This wine was made from two batches of Q45, one on its own roots from terra rossa soils, one grafted onto rootstock planted in sandier soils. Lightly fined and matured in oak (30 percent new) for 8 months. It's still a work in progress, but the texture, structure, purple and black fruit flavours point the way ahead."
95 points Special Value wine 2020 Halliday Wine Companion
Reviews of the 2018 Q Merlot
"Lovely fruit here. You get the feeling that the vines are digging in deeper. Less mulberry, more plum, more blackcurrant. There are traces of mint here too, along with swoops of cedarwood and black olive, but all these aspects are integrated, and all work a treat. I like the tannin here too; it’s assertive without getting in the way. This is a merlot I would buy, and I don’t write those words often." Campbell Mattinson 93 points on The Wine Front
"This is certainly complete and savoury with impressive concentration though the middle palate and finish - an attribute often missing in Australian Merlot. The tannins are a highlight: they are fine but gravelly, and give real grip and texture to the palate. redolent with plums, mulberry, cocoa, licorice and earthy spice. Very smart." Erin Larkin 93 points Wine Companion
Using the gentlest touch of oak, this wine was made to let the savoury and vibrant fruitiness of Merlot shine through.
REVIEWS OF 2017 343 MERLOT
"It’s firm and well flavoured and while it’s attractive now, it will mature well. It tastes of blackberry and black currant with mint and briar herbs notes drift through. The mid-palate dips slightly but it recovers quickly and well. Dry chains of tannin, a note of choc-mint and a confidant finish. Value plus. 92 points." Campbell Mattinson The Wine Front here www.winefront.com.au
REVIEWS OF 2019 343 MERLOT
"It offers an attractive mix of berried fruit flavour and it does it in a context of dry, fragrant herbs; the drinkability factor is high here but it also has enough complexity to keep your interest. In fact, in the end its quite a herbal/twiggy style, despite the rush of jellied fruit Its good to go now but it should develop and evolve nicely over the next few years." Campbell Mattinson WineFront 90 points
343 Merlot 6 bottle pack
Almost fifteen years ago, vignerons Colleen and Mike spent four months in Argentina to taste and learn everything they could about growing and making Argentine Malbec. Later, when Argentine clones of Malbec became available in Australia they seized the opportunity to plant an experimental parcel of four clones on their site in 2008 - seeing synergies between their cool climate site and some of the high altitude estates around Mendoza.
Argentine clones can produce smaller berries, creating wine that is more intense in colour and flavours. On our site, our soils and climate coax these newer clones to create Malbec that is inky, with intense fruitiness and aromatic qualities, and the excellent natural acidity and fine tannins that will reward cellaring. Available here in a mixed pack along with our cool-climate Shiraz Malbec.
We're really excited to be able to share an inky, vibrant, delicious Australian cool climate expression of Argentine Malbec with you.
MERITE Shiraz Malbec $30
Silver medal award winner 2018 Limestone Coast Wine Show
Featured in “How has Australian Shiraz evolved?” with Alistair Cooper MW on Jancis Robinson here
93 points Drink til 2026 Ned Goodwin MW Wine Companion
"It presents a smooth glide of flavour, cherry-berry and cedarwood characters to the fore. Its firm through the finish but the fruit keeps pushing through. There are mint notes here, nothing excessive, just enough to add lift. There are mint notes here, nothing excessive, just enough to add lift. Everything is in good order, in other words, the wine's velvety mouthfeel a key feature." 92 points Campbell Mattinson WineFront
"Mérite is doing great things with merlot, though this Malbec too was a standout in a recent tasting.” “The gist of this wine is blackcurrant, dark plum, choc-mint, and clove spice. It sits at just over medium-bodied with plushness to texture and a lift of breathy sweet fruit following on from soft tannins. Really easy to like, it delivers good concentration, a strong sense of the generosity of Malbec and inherent balance. Lovely drinking." Mike Bennie - Best Buy Wines to Cellar in Gourmet Traveller Wine magazinehere
"BlackBerry, floral, and vanilla perfume, some dark mint chocolate too. Medium-bodied, a good feel to the wine here with a fine grainy spread of tannin, some mouth-perfume with dark juicy fresh berries, nice and bright with a pretty long finish. Thoroughly charming. Watch this space I’d say." 93 points Drink til 2028 Gary Walsh on www.winefront.com.au
Fine domestic Malbec of boysenberry, violet and minty scents, sophisticated in its swathe of moreish, middle-weight tannins and the integration of oak, again, a United Nations of origins (30 percent new). Vanilla, cedar and bitter chocolate find a welcome companion in Malbec’s generous girth.
The tannins are this estate’s calling card: finely tuned and on just the right side of grit.
94 points - Drink til 2028 Ned Goodwin MW Wine Companion
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