2018 Huntington Estate Special Reserve Merlot
Smooth, fruity and ageworthy.
VARIETY Planted in the late 70s, Block 13 Merlot is at the top of the vineyard on lean soils, surrounded by Eucalyptus trees (a portion of the crop inevitably feeds the hungry birds as the grapes ripen!). Originally intended for the classic Bordeaux blend of Cab Merlot, the first straight Merlot from Huntington Estate was produced in 2006 and has been a popular addition to the tasting bench ever since. We’ve been buying merlot fruit from our neighbour Tim Ferris for the last 8 years, since we pulled out our underperforming block of merlot, now replanted with grenache. In years when both quality and quantity levels are up there, we make a Reserve as well as an Estate expression of the variety – as was the case in 2018. Rows with the best fruit are selected in the vineyard, and the oak treatment in particular differs for the Reserve wine.
WINEMAKING Fruit was picked 24/3 at 13.5 Bé, and spent 8 days fermenting on skins. It was racked to barrels 02/5, with 35% new oak - the remainder well seasoned, 60% American, 40% French. Bottled at 13.6% Alc on 11/7.
IN NOSE Complex and beguiling nose of plums, cinnamon and star anise spice and dusty violets.
IN MOUTH Plums, spice and a lick of vanilla and tobacco leaf. Lovely. Full-bodied, balanced acids, velvety soft and smooth tannins, long finish.
90/100 "The strong tannins ascribed to this wine by Huntington Estate are MIA. It's a medium-bodied, fine-boned wine that is unexpectedly varietal, its gently savoury/black olive facade leaving spicy red fruits in its interior." HALLIDAY 2020