Vintage ConditionsFollowing a dry winter, early spring rains resulted in excellent budburst, good vine health and good fruit development. Dry conditions followed throughout the growing season with cool February temperatures. March saw some very hot weather conditions which hastened fruit maturity across all red varieties. Most reds were picked between mid March and early April producing intense wines with great colour, rich ripe flavours and fine tannins.
Vinification and MaturationThe wine was fermented on skins in open fermenters and pumped over twice a day to ensure maximum extraction of colour and flavour. Once pressed off skins, the wine was pumped to new and used French and American oak barrels to complete primary and malolactic fermentation. On completion of fermentation in barrel the wine was racked off its lees and the barrels were washed and the wine pumped back into the refreshed barrels for maturation, total maturation period was 22 months. During the first six months of barrel maturation the wine was racked barrel to barrel by hand a further two times to achieve the required wine clarity and to assist in wine development. The wood for the 2008 Merlot was a mix of new fine grained French (40%) and American (10%) oak, the balance being second use oak.
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