Merlot is a pivotal red varietal on Rustenberg alongside Cabernet Sauvignon. Displaying excellent concentration and structure, the Stellenbosch Merlot is designed to age well and stand up to any rich hearty meal.
Merlot has been a mainstay red grape variety on Rustenberg since the late 1970's where its lead role has been to complement Cabernet Sauvignon in blends. Rustenberg's Merlots tend to be bigger and bolder in body and are structured to have excellent aging potential, pairing well with red meat based dishes and rewarding decanting before being served.
This vintage was impacted by the fourth year of the ongoing drought in the region. The 2017 Winter was cold and dry, followed by a dry Spring and Summer, with bouts of unusual weather.
A number of thunder storms resulted in a late onset of additional vigour in the vineyards. Unsettled weather and wind during flowering, along with a freak hail storm and low levels of soil moisture decreased yields by 20% to 50%.
The harvest began closer to its average start date and the smaller berries and bunches yielded lower juice volumes per ton. The lower yields resulted in the wines showing excellent concentration and body, producing rich, robust reds and fruit forward, expressive whites and rosé.