Villiera, Merlot, Stellenbosch, South Africa, 2017Regular price £14.00
Merlot is a tricky grape for us. In most lower priced examples, we find it simply uninteresting. This wine however, is the opposite. It's beautifully made - owing mostly to the gentle but well-integrated oak and some whole bunches, producing a juicy, soft wine that isn't too heavy - simply gluggable.
This substantial farm on the edge of the Stellenbosch appellation was purchased by the Grier’s in 1983, although they elected to keep the name of the previous owners, the de Villiers family. Of the 400 hectares, around half is dedicated to vineyards with the balance set aside as a wildlife reserve. This is the quintessential family business, with cousins Simon and Jeff working in the vines and cellar respectively, whilst Jeff’s sister, Cathy, runs the sales and marketing.
One of the early supporters of ‘green’ viticulture, viticulturist Simon Grier has always been a keen supporter of maintaining environmentally friendly vineyard practices. The farm has not sprayed insecticides for the past thirteen years and a flock of 1000 Peking ducks are responsible for some natural pest control.