SOUTHBANK ESTATE - Hawkes Bay Merlot/Cabenet Sauvignon 2004
Crushed and 100% destemmed, the Merlot fruit was fermented separately in small open top fermenters that facilitated regular hand plunging. Conversely the Cabernet was fermented in enclosed stainless steel fermenters which required 12 hourly aerative pump overs to ensure the necessary extraction of colour and tannin.
The wine remained on skins for an average of 16 days before being pressed to barrel to complete a full malo-lactic fermentation. Once the MLF was completed the wine was racked from the settled solids layer and returned to clean barrels to continue barrel maturation. The individual components were blended at the end of nine months' oak maturation and returned to wood, thus allowing a further five months for the individual components to integrate.
The wine was bottled following a light egg white fining and filtration.
Aged in new and seasoned French and American oak for 14 months prior to bottling.
Tasting Note: Dark ruby red. Lifted sweet blueberry fruit combines with the oak derived notes of mocha & toast. A complex combination of grapey sweetness and creamy berry fruits with toast and coffee oak. The Merlot predominance gives the palate its characteristic rounded structure with a moderate volume of fine-grained tannin.
Serve with strongly flavoured red meat dishes and BBQ.