First ever barrel of Paradise Rescued Cabernet Franc Merlot in the winery awaiting bottling.

First ever barrel of Paradise Rescued Cabernet Franc Merlot in the winery awaiting bottling.

We get quite a few emails from passionate Merlot fans and customers who are keen to hear about our progress in the Hourcat Centre block, our home for Paradise Rescued Merlot. As with most things viticultural, patience is a key requirement. This isn’t code for any bad news – in fact very much to the contrary – just a statement of reality that it will be some while yet before the fruits of our hard work will show much tangible progress.

The northerly part of Hourcat Centre, the part that we dug up and are planning to replant, is progressing very well. This 0.25 hectare section of Hourcat Centre is looking better by the day. The final ploughing of the soil and addition of horse manure was completed in late September and the ground planted with winter cereals to surpress weed growth and soil washaway in the winter rains. The plan is to replant young Merlot vines in the spring of 2014.

Looking south across Hourcat Centre block

    Looking south across the Hourcat Centre Merlot block

Why does it all take so long, I hear you ask? Quite simply we are taking our time to get it right. We expect these vines to be producing for more than 60+ years from now….that means two generations hence! And if we are to achieve that goal and have many great harvests between now and then, we need to do a good job wih the preparation. Accelerating the process risks achieving a sub optimal result, which we would have to live with for a long time. And to be honest when you stand at the top end of this beautiful piece of land, facing downwards to the south, you quickly gain a good impression of the potential of this wonderful block of land.

In the meantime, it is almost bottling time for the 2012 Merlot, which will become part of a lovely Cab Franc Merlot blend. Quantities will be very limited and despite the fact that we are still to confirm a name and label for this new exclusive wine, we already have a number of export enquiries for the wine….so please get your reservation orders into us by email as soon as you can as supply is likely to be on an allocation basis.

Pascale inspects the "Old Vine" Merlots

      Pascale inspects the vigour of the 55 year old “Old Vine block” Merlots

With the cold wet 2013 year on the Bordeaux right bank, despite the continued recovery and vigour of the Old Vine block section of Hourcat Centre, the yield of ripe clean fruit was too small to sensibly and confidently ferment a vat of Merlot. There is sadly no 2013 Merlot production…but we are looking forward to 2014 as this block continues to recover and regain strength. As always, we will keep you posted…

The Merlot dream progresses…….very nicely!