Make it a Merlot this winter
As temperatures drop and the winter of 2012 makes itself well and truly known, there's no better way to keep the chill at bay by stoking up the fire, climbing under the nana blanket and pouring a glass of 2010 Climbing Merlot (RRP $23.95), the latest gem to land on shelves from Cumulus Estate Wines.
Produced in Orange, NSW and sourced from the brand's namesake high-elevation vines, this latest release red represents cool-climate Merlot at its best – bright and luscious with refined and elegant fruit characters. Born from an estate vineyard that represents a considerable percentage of the total vineyard area in the region, the 2010 Climbing Merlot is well-positioned to proclaim the unique quality message of Orange and the benefits of the unusual intensity of the sun at this altitude (giving the fruit intense colour and powerful flavour) and the continual cool temperatures (creating its smooth elegance).
A self-professed Merlot-phile herself, senior winemaker Debbie Lauritz loves the challenge that Merlot brings and throws herself wholeheartedly into creating the ideal drop. "Orange is the perfect region to produce top quality Merlot. The high elevation retains good natural acidity in the fruit and keeps the wine bright and fresh and the slightly longer growing season with cool nights, allows for tannin ripening, without jammy fruit characters," she says.
Fruit for the 2010 Merlot was sourced from elevated sections of the estate vineyard, with red soils and a high rock content ideal for optimizing varietal Merlot flavours. Crops were kept low at 2.8 tonnes per hectare, to ensure concentrated fruit flavours.
Vintage conditions for 2010 were slightly more challenging than usual, with the end of the drought wreaking havoc on the soil and vineyard conditions proving difficult. However, the cluster of small berries harvested from a selection of premium Merlot parcels have led to the production of extremely fruit-forward and concentrated flavours that the team is extremely proud of.
As with any great Merlot, texture is essential, and Debbie believes the 2010 vintage has achieved this in droves. "We matured the 2010 vintage in older French and European barrels for a period of 12 months, which helped to produce elegant, supple tannins. Natural acidity provided brightness and lift, while red berry fruit flavours and well-integrated dark toasted oak enhanced this typically herbaceous cool-climate Merlot wine."
Excitingly, this is not just a great wine to drink now – it holds great potential beyond the bottle as well. "The 2010 Climbing Merlot is smooth, ripe and surprisingly powerful for a medium bodied wine; we look forward to seeing how it develops in the bottle." Debbie adds.
So, drink now to forget the cold…or cellar this little gem for up to five years - if it lasts that long of course!
2010 Climbing Merlot - RRP $23.95
Stockists: Distributed by Cumulus Estate Wines. Available nationally through independent liquor stores.
Current Climbing wines:
Climbing Pinot Gris 2012 Climbing Sauvignon Blanc 2011 Climbing Chardonnay 2011
Climbing Merlot 2010 Climbing Shiraz 2010 Climbing Cabernet Sauvignon 2010