2017 Rileys of Eden Valley The Engineer Merlot

Vineyard: Merlot is grown on the Riley's estate located approximately central in the Eden Valley wine region. The soil profile is predominately sandy loam over clay, which allows for good drainage and water retention throughout the drier months. The vineyard is ideal for Merlot grapes, with cool evening temperatures developing into warm to hot days at an altitude of 440m. Minimal irrigation is required with most years stated as a 'Dry Grown' vineyard.

Season: A dry start to the vintage growing season with expected cooler evenings and seasonal late frosts. Due to the site elevation and vineyard establishment, little frost settled on the grape vines. A warm start to the summer season ensured a strong and healthy canopy structure. Along with warm weather, rain arrived and was higher than expected throughout January and February. The Shiraz grapes were not affected by this due to no irrigation established on site and allowed the Shiraz grapes to ripen with full colour and flavour intensity. 

Wine making:  The Merlot grapes were hand picked and made on the family estate. The juice was gently pressed in a traditional basket press before skin contact and increased ferment temperatures assisted wine making to maintain colour and delicate aromas of the Merlot grapes. Within weeks the processed wine was transferred to seasoned French oak barriques to mature for a further 18 months.

Appearance: Deep purple

Aroma/Bouquet: Dark berry fruits are dominating with intense satsuma plum and morello cherry.

Palate: A medium to full bodied wine on the palate with plush dark red berries and hints of blue fruits. Obvious notes of dark chocolate and mint weave through the palate to deliver a silky smooth but slightly grippy finish.

Food Pairing: Grilled meats, caramelized onion with roast tomatoes and goat curd or something sweet dark chocolate fondue with fresh berries.

Alcohol: 14.5%

pH: NA

Acidity: NA

Residual Sugar: NA

Production: NA

Cellar potential: 15+ years

Wine consultant: Joanne Irvine