Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Cape Mentelle Cabernet Merlot Trinders 2012

The Cabernet Merlot blend takes inspiration from the classic red wines of Bordeaux. Cape Mentelle has developed an international reputation for outstanding Bordeaux varietal and blended wines which are perfectly suited to the climate and soils of Margaret River. This blend seeks to capture the depth and structure of cabernet with the dark fruit and plush flavours of merlot, which when blended create a well- rounded, full and rich style.

Bright crimson with purple hues.
Fresh blackcurrant, plum skin, violets, couverture, wild thyme and rolled tobacco.
Medium to full bodied with sweet ripe fruits of currants and plums with wild herbs and violets. The structure is firm yet velvety providing great length and intensity of flavour.
- See more at: http://www.capementelle.com.au/product/Cabernet-Merlot-Trinders-2012#sthash.JkV821RX.dpuf

Monday, 16 December 2013

Brown Hill Estate 2012 Trafalgar Cabernet Merlot

Brown Hill Estate 2012 Trafalgar Cabernet Merlot

The Merlot was picked on the 25th March. The Cabernet was picked at a variety of ripeness levels over 12 days. The fruit was separately destemmed, crushed and then transferred to tanks. Yeast was added to initiate fermentation which took approximately 10 days at 25 degrees. After the completion of the primary fermentation the wine was allowed to undergo extended maceration for an additional 14 days before the skins were pressed. This allowed the tannins to soften. After pressing the wine was transferred to both tanks and barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. Once completed the wine was racked off lees and blended then transferred to barrels, of which 25% were new, for 15 months.

The barrels were kept at 16 degrees and were rack and returned using compressed nitrogen, every 3 months. Filtered in late May, the wine was bottled in June 2013

2012 was a text book vintage with minimal summer rain. Although warm, the maximum temperature was not excessive which ensured the grapes ripened slowly and steadily. Picking dates were 5 days earlier than usual.

Region:  Margaret River

Sunday, 15 December 2013


The Barwick estate's  Black Label features premium Margaret River fruit, crafted into this region specific wine range. The Black Label range focuses on specific varietals utilising French and American oak barrels to create sophisticated and complex wines.
Cabernet Merlot
Margaret River
St Johns Brook Vineyard
The classic aromas of black fruits, cassis and green capsicum and integrated French oak. The palate is full bodied with robust fine grain tannins.

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Ashbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot

Ashbrook Estate Cabernet Merlot

Margaret River is regarded as the premier region in Australia for Bordeaux blends as typified by Ashbrook’s blend of approximately 75% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Two years in French Oak and two years’ bottle maturation produce classical wines of elegance, intensity and opulence.

Some highlights include:
• 93 points James Halliday (2003)
• 94 points James Halliday (2004, 2008)
• 8th of 135 wines Royal Melbourne Wine Show 2008 (2004)
• 95 points James Halliday (2005) 
• James Halliday's Weekend Australian Top 100 Wines 2010 (2005)

Friday, 13 December 2013

Evans and Tate Margaret River Merlot

Absotely a WONDEFUL drop if you can get it... so popular most stockists have sold out.

The Margaret River range by Evans & Tate showcases the celebrated wine styles of the region and the unique regional character of Margaret River.

Carefully crafted using premium parcels of fruit from selected vineyards, the wines showcase vibrant fruit flavours and a refined elegant style.

Aged in new French oak, bright berry and plum fruit flavours dominate with the rewarding finish exhibiting subtle cedar and spice notes with fine soft tannins of impressive length.

Region:  Margaret River

Price: Up to $25 a bottle...

Saturday, 7 December 2013


 Arlewood 2011 CABERNET MERLOT


This wine is the little brother of the Arlewood Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is made in pretty much the same style, with a touch more juicy fruit and supple tannin to entice you to drink it more frequently. Violets on the nose and blackcurrant on the palate.
Varieties: 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot
Fruit Source: Arlewood Estate Forest Grove Vineyard, Margaret River Appellation
Maturation: 25% new, 75% 2 to 3 year old French oak barriques
Bottled: February 2013
Production: 700 cases
Alcohol: 14.2% vol
pH: 3.10
Titratable Acid: 7.15g/L

Cellaring: Delicious now; cellar to 8 years
Winemaker: Bill Crappsley

Region: Margaret River

Friday, 6 December 2013

Aravina Estate Cabernet Merlot 2011

2011 Aravina Estate Cabernet Merlot
Aravina Estate Cabernet Merlot Wines - 2011 Aravina Estate Cabernet Merlot

A thoroughly delightful medium bodied cabernet blend that captures this style beautifully. Minty black currant and cedar on the nose with a little violet perfume. The palate is seamless with fine tannin and subtle use of oak perfectly harnessing the fruit....

Wine Reviewer: Ray Jordan

Wine Region:Margaret River

Wine Rating:90 points

Winery:Aravina Estate

Thursday, 5 December 2013

Amberley Secret Lane Cabernet Merlot 2012

Secret Lane Cabernet Merlot 2012
Secret Lane Cabernet Merlot 2012

Located towards the northern reaches of Margaret River, where the invigorating ocean breezes form a unique microclime, Amberley produces wines with elegant flavours, solid structure and fine balance. Secret Lane keeps its promise to deliver smooth, early drinking Cabernet Merlot in fully approachable, contemporary styling. Pleasantly fragrant, with attractive blue and black berry characters, the gentlest tannins and decorous, supportive oak. 

Throughout the ripening period and harvest, vines are closely managed to yield grapes exhibiting a concentration of flavours, good colour and lovely ripe tannins. Fruit is sourced from vines up to twenty five years of age and de-stemmed into open fermenters. Parcels are inoculated and vinified at temperatures between 26?C and 30?C, treated to a careful plunging for the gentlest extraction of colour, flavour and tannins. Pressed and fermented to dryness before transfer to barrel for malolactic.
Components are matured in exclusively French oak barriques for over a year, before being racked, assembled, lightly fined and bottled.

Dark crimson red with scarlet hue. Aromas of blackcurrant and mulberry spice are complemented by hints of classic Margaret River bay leaf and dried herbs. A rich, supple red wine displaying flavours of cassis and mulberry fruit with an underlying sweet oak spice. The palate persists with its great length of fruit characters, generous and completely integrated, finishing beautifully rounded with fine, powdery tannins. Enjoy with lamb and kipflers.

Region:   Margaret River

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Vale: Lilac Hill Estate Swan Valley last taste Merlot 2008

Lilac Hill 2008 Merlot
I grabbed 2 cases of 2008 Merlot this week from my FAVOURITE Swan Valley haunt - Lilac Hill

And  Stephen the owner said... we close shop for good on December 31st, 2013..

He says that Sunday trading has killed off the Sunday tourist trade in the Valley and it was time to move on...


From the www.visitvineyards.com website:

Lilac Hill Estate Wines is a family business owned and managed by Stephen and Amaya Murfit, and located in Caversham in the Swan Valley wine region of Western Australia's Greater Perth area. 

In 1998, the Winery was transformed from yesterdays conventional winery to the custom built, state-of-the-art winery it is today. This allows them to produce wines to the highest standard, generous fresh fruit driven styles that are perfect to drink with or without food. 

The Murfit family have built a strong and reputable following, accordingly Lilac Hill Estate has now become successful in its own right. Winemaker, Stephen's philosophies is to continue the skill of producing high quality fortifieds. Hence we have been setting aside parcels of liqueurs, since he first started making wine, wih their undisclosed methods, these fortifieds are not only enjoyable but also affordable.

James Halliday wrote on his website:
Lilac Hill Estate is part of the renaissance that is sweeping the Swan Valley. Just when it seemed it would die a lingering death, supported only by Houghton, Sandalford and the remnants of the once Yugoslav-dominated cellar door trade, wine tourism has changed the entire scene. Lilac Hill Estate, drawing in part upon 4ha of estate vineyards, has built a substantial business; considerable contract winemaking fleshes out the business even further.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Australia's wine regions - Western Australia

Western Australian Wine Regions
Australia's wine regions have not only gained well-deserved reputations for their wines but also for producing top-quality foods. Margaret River, for example, is known for its dairy products, Mudgee for honey and olives, Orange for meats and stone fruit, and Queensland’s Granite Belt for apples and pears. Cellar-door tastings and sales are usually available and at small family-owned wineries visitors will often find themselves being greeted by the winemaker.

1 Swan Valley, Western Australia

Historic wineries, family-owned vineyards and international producers alike occupy picturesque riverside locations only a short trip from Perth. Many cellar doors can be visited on river-borne wine tours and host musical events, dinners and picnic concerts. The region is best known for its whites (verdelho, chardonnay and chenin blanc), but good reds are made here, as well as fortified wines.

2 Geographe, Western Australia

This region enjoys the moderating maritime influences of Geographe Bay, which in turn encourages the production of full-bodied reds and full-flavoured whites. Italian families originally planted vineyards around Harvey in the north; today’s vineyards are found around Busselton in the south, Bunbury in the centre, and inland to the south and east along the Ferguson Valley and the Darling Range around Collie and Donnybrook.

3 Margaret River, Western Australia

Internationally renowned cabernet sauvignons and chardonnays are produced here at more than 100 wineries. Visitors are made welcome at the sometimes rustic, sometimes elaborate cellar doors, many of which have top-notch restaurants. Diverse micro climates play a part in the success of the Margaret River, which has an enviable reputation for its production of top-quality wines.

4 Great Southern, Western Australia

Sandy loam soils and a Mediterranean climate produce fine shiraz, cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and riesling in this sprawling coastal region centred on the towns of Mount Barker, Denmark, Porongorup, Albany and Frankland. Food and wine events take place throughout the year; the Great Southern Wine Festival is held every October in several locations. The surrounding agricultural districts also graze sheep and cattle and grow wild flowers.

Thursday, 28 November 2013

Alfasi Merlot Red 750Ml

Merlot Red Chilean Wine

Alfasi Merlot is a well balanced wine that exhibits delicious plum, mocha and mild oak flavors, with a velvety smooth finish.

Alfasi wines are produced using the finest grapes grown in the Maule Valley just south of Santiago, Chile's capital city. Alfasi wines benefit from the rare union of a sunny climate with cool ocean breezes. The surrounding mountain ranges provide a cool, moisture free climate that contributes to the top quality that Alfasi wines exhibit.


Tasting Notes

A well-balanced wine that exhibits delicious plum, mocha and mild oak flavours, with a velvety-smooth finish.

Wine Colour Red
Alcohol Units 9.75
ABV 13%
Current Vintage Non Vintage
Producer Vina Carte Vieja
Type of Closure Other
Pack Quantity 750
Pack Measure ml
Country Chile


Vinification Details

Alfasi wines benefit from the rare union of a sunny climate with cool ocean breezes. The surrounding mountain ranges provide a cool, moisture - free climate that contributes to the top quality that Alfasi wines exhibit.

History Vina Carte Vieja S.A. is a high class winery and produces top quality wines.

Regional Information

Alfasi Wines are produced using the finest grapes grown in the maule vally just south of Santiago, Chile's capital city.

This wine is ideal for drinking now but can be kept for up to 5 years

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Killerby Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot

Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot
The 2010 Killerby Cabernet Sauvignon Merlot certainly got a few gongs

Bronze 2011 Qantas Mt Barker Wine Show of WA
Bronze 2011 Royal Hobart Wine Show
Bronze 2012 Royal Sydney Wine Show

Vineyard Notes:     Sourced from the northern region of Margaret River.
Harvesting Notes: Fruit was harvested in the early morning.
Winemaking Notes: Grapes were immediately crushed to static fermenters
for ferment. Pump overs occurred 4 times a day for 8 days
before gentle pressing, malo-lactic fermentation and then the
wine was racked to a range of new and mature oak. During
maturation, the blend was periodically racked and returned to
oak for 12 months prior to filtration and bottling.

Colour: Crimson
Nose: Complex nose of gentle herbs, blackcurrant, anise and spicy
Palate: Plum and sweet blackberry Merlot fruit complements
the leafy mulberry characters of the Cabernet Sauvignon,
enhanced further by long grained tannins.
Cellaring Notes: 2 years
Food Pairing: Homemade BBQ pizza.

Region:  Margaret River

Website: http://killerby.com.au/our-wines/merchant-trader/cabernet-sauvignon-merlot/

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Merlot and a Hot Dog

Selecting a Merlot to go with
my medium rare steak
What wine should have with what meal... here is a suggestion for Merlot

When chowing down on Grilled favorites, go for a Cabernet or Merlot
Tannins in red wines give a luxurious, full-bodied flavor, making it the perfect partner to a juicy burger, BBQ sandwich, a hearty steak, or even hot dogs!  

My Favourite Dish:  A juicy, well seasoned steak with a round glass of ANY straight Merlot.

What to look for on the menu :

 Dark Fruit – Blackcurrant, Blackberry, Plum, Raisin, Oak, Cedar, Smoke, Vanilla, Spice, Pepper, Complex – Chocolate, Coffee, Tobacco, Earth, Herb

 France, California, Washington State, Australia, Argentina, Italy (Super Tuscans) and Chile

Friday, 15 November 2013

Elderton Estate Barossa Merlot

Elderton Estate Barossa Merlot
Elderton Estate Barossa Merlot

Until 1992, Elderton had used the small amounts of Merlot produced from the Estate as a blending tool with Cabernet. In 1992, the individual parcel of Merlot was exceptional and the decision was made to make a single varietal that encompassed the best that Merlot had to offer.

The Elderton Merlot has been frequently recognised amongst the five best Merlots in the country, as well as one of the most consistent. The 2011 vintage shows how superb Merlot can be in Australia, when handled well, and this wine sits proudly in our portfolio with its harmonious power and elegance.

Estate Information:

The Elderton vineyard, which is approximately 72 acres in size, has only two small blocks of Merlot. Both of these blocks are towards the back of the vineyard, on the highest point, where the soils are much sandier and free- draining than those closer to the river bed.

With our mediterranean climate, the Baumé reaches 140 to 150 and quite unlike traditional Bordeaux, we have found great results in allowing the fruit to ripen significantly on the vine.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Grant Burge Merlot from Barossa Valley 5 out of 5!!

Hi. This is Wayne Mansfield, with my Merlot a Day spot. We're going to 
continue through on our great Australian merlots. Today, I've got a bottle of Grant Burge from Barossa Valley, called Hillcot Merlot 2011.

This is 
pushing the boundaries of what I normally pay for merlot, but this is fabulous. You'll probably pay somewhere between $20 and $30 at a bottle shop for this, between $50 and $70 at a restaurant. It is really great.

Let me just read a little bit off the back: 'First planted in 1980, with merlot and cab sav. The wine mag is impressed by the quality of the merlot and decided that it should be just by itself.' This merlot is particularly good. On the scale of 1 to 5, in my Merlots of the Day, this one is touching towards the top end of that.

I'd recommend this.

It's not the sort of thing that you can drink by yourself on a lonely night watching the cricket. It's the sort of thing that you should share with friends. My very strong recommendation: When you're at the bottle shop, seek out Grant Burge from Barossa Valley, Hillcot Merlot. This one is 2011, but I'm sure that they run anywhere from 5 to 10 years in range in terms of what they're available at.

Until next time when we share Merlots of the Day, this is Wayne Mansfield saying chin-chin.

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Vintners Edge a Great Merlot

Hi. Welcome to my Merlot a Day. This is Wayne Mansfield, as we travel around the country; back to my place of birth, Margaret River, in west Australia, before it was famous. When I was brought up there in the '50s and '60s, nobody in their right mind would think you could grow world-classwine.

When you travel the world now, there's a couple spots that people know really well about Australia; that's Sydney Harbor Bridge, Melbourne, for all the football, the Barossa Valley, and Margaret River, for all its
amazing wines.

What a lot of people don't know about Margaret River is they developed a number of bulk vineyards where they don't have a particular label that they grow for. Somebody comes in, pools the wine, and blends them, and they come up with a particularly good drop of wine.

On a bigger scale, Wolf Blass, an Australian icon in the wine industry, doesn't have a vineyard that I'm aware of. He goes each year, buys particularly good wines and blends them. His wine label is world-renowned as gold medal-winning and a great taste if you've going to have a chance of sampling it. What I'm going to share with you today is a cab-merlot from a Vintner's Edge; a cab-merlot, which is a blend of the cabernet and the
merlot. What that does is takes the edge off the cabernet.

If the wine blender is a merlot drinker, it will end up tasting a bit more like merlot. This one, I think the blender was a cab drinker so it's a bit more like a cab sav than a merlot, but it's still a particularly beautiful drop.

What it says in the notes on the back, there's a couple of interesting things. It says the bottle weighs less, therefore it takes less energy ant it's this kinder footprint for the carbon footprint. That as it may be,
here's the interesting thing that it says: 'Our grapes have been features in many distinguished Margaret River wines that you have probably enjoyed over the past.' There is my point, these wines are probably in some of the better-known Margaret River brands, labels, and at 2 and 3 times the price of this bottle.

This one's a really great value. If you buy it by the dozen, you're going to pay about $10 a bottle. With a different brand on it from Margaret River, it might be $35, $40 a bottle. Vintner's Edge Cabernet Merlot 2009; that's from the year of the wine glut when everything grew perfectly. It's well worth a visit. I recommend that you have this when friends are around because you're going to get through 3 or 4 bottles of this because it is such a nice drink. My friends, both men and women, enjoy this because it just is such a delightful drink.

On my wine scale, it's a 4 out of 5, given that it is a blend. We really would not be able to say it came from that part of Margaret River; the top, the south, the east, or the west; it comes from somewhere there. Until next time, this is Wayne Mansfield saying,

'Enjoy your merlot, and chin chin.'

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Casillero Del Diablo Merlot from Chile

Phil Crozier, Director of Wine at Gaucho Restaurants, recommends this punchy Merlot from the slopes of the Andes.

Ready to drink... a bottle of Concha y Toro, Casillero Del Diablo Merlot 2006/7, Central Valley, Chile

Hints of blackberries, vanilla and oak on the nose with a ripe berry finish. All the heavy chocolate features that you would expect of a Chilean Merlot are here.

This really punches above its weight – alas, most probably along with your hangover

2011 CLIMBING MERLOT from Cumulus Wines

Sourced from the higher elevations of Cumulus Estate in Orange, NSW, grown vineyard above 600m (Orange appellation) “Climbing” wines exhibit intense flavours courtesy of lower yielding vines set on ancient soils, extremely cool nights and carefully nurtured viticulture.

The Climbing range exhibit carefully added winemaking techniques to deliver complexity that layers the natural bright and elegant fruit character.

The label is inspired by the higher elevation vines that give such a unique character and was drawn from an 1880’s Dive Circus poster with the dashing Henry scaling the heights inspired by the local extinct volcano peak, Mount Canobolas.

And the wine should be good too as it has won a number of awards. the winemaker says:

Premium parcels of Merlot from several different blocks were selected. Following
harvest these were crushed and destemmed then cold soaked on skins for two weeks.

Separate fermentation of parcels, starting off at cool temperatures, building during fermentation to peak at 28 degrees with gentle pump overs, starting off twice daily. Time on skins depended on tannin extraction, with pumpovers shortening to wetting the cap once per day. Wine was then pressed off skins once tannin extraction was deemed optimal.

Parcels were matured separately in older French barrels for 12 months then racked out of barrel, blended, with some small egg fining prior to filtering and bottling.

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Frankland Reserve Merlot 2009 by Trevelen Farm

Frankland Reserve Merlot 2010 by Trevelen Farm Estate, and Powderbark Vineyard Frankland  is from the Great Southern Region in Western Australia.

The winemaker describes the wine as Deep dark cherry red. Lifted spicy complex fruity nose of red current and ripe plums with with violets in evidence. And the palate is a complex mixture of ripe plum ,liquorice, coffee bean and red current on fine tannins. The finish is fruity, spicy and dry.

This wine has cellaring potential of up to 10 years.

It won a medal at Small Winemakers Wineshow 2012

Ray Jordan from The west Australian Wine Guide says:

Medium bodied and velvety smooth. This is a merlot that offers more than a simple fruit bomb. It has lovely fruitcake and blackberry characters with a slightly regional earthy edge.

Ray says: "A nice wine for the next few years."

Friday, 1 November 2013

Palmer Merlot 2010 Margaret River Region

Palmer Wines Merlot 2010 Merlots have been winners for Plamers for a long time grabbing medals both locally and internationally. The tasting note say:

Light leafy fruitcake [where do they get this nonsense??] and dark plummy fruits on the nose with a light cedary character. It is soft and generous [ like a mothers bosom ?] with a good oak and fruit balance. Dusty dry tannins add balance and poise to finish."

Wayne says: Mmmm does that mean it is lumpy like a fruitcake?? I am just dieing to try a glass or 3.

There is a story with Palmers Wines in the Margaret River region of Western Australia:

Established by Stephen and Helen Palmer in 1977 as one of the pioneer vineyards in the Margaret River region of Western Australia.
The initial planting on the banks of the fertile Wilyabrup River included Chardonnay, Semillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and a small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
With 50ha in Wilyabrup It all started to fall into place when Palmer’s 1999 shiraz was judged the best WA wine and best WA dry table wine at the 2000 Perth Wine Show. That year their 1999 merlot also won a gold medal.

Their wines soon chalked up awards on a regular basis and continue to do so under current winemaker Mark Warren. And the pleasing thing for the Palmers is that they have a strong stable of award-winning wines, for such a small producer.

While chardonnay figures prominently among them, their semillon sauvignon blanc, Crackerjack cabernet shiraz, shiraz and merlot have won gold, while their 2007 cabernet sauvignon won a silver medal at the prestigious London International Wine Challenge. Their rose is also proving popular.
But wine alone doesn’t make Palmers. Their Tuscan-style restaurant, which is designed also for alfresco dining, is one of the eye-catching eating establishments in the Margaret River wine region.

It has thrived under innovative young chef Coby Cockburn.
Hailing from Port Douglas, Coby (30) moved to Western Australia and was quickly enticed to Palmers by Helen Palmer.

"Coby is a real find - he brings a spark anbd a passion for food that is essential to the Palmers dining experience - we're really excited about where he wants to take our restaurant," said Helen.
Coby adores his trade – starting his apprenticeship at 16 and going on to work at notable Port Douglas eateries including Watergate as executive chef.
Not many Australian chefs can lay claim to cooking for Canadian heart-throb and fresh seafood devotee Keanu Reeves but Coby Cockburn can; he was the star’s personal chef, no less.
For almost three weeks in 2002, he cooked a multitude of meals, including plenty of fresh crayfish, for the Point Break star and about 45 of his family and friends on Double Island in Queensland, where he was holidaying amid filming sci-fi trilogy The Matrix.

It’s no wonder that with his talents and such a spectacular venue that Palmer has become popular for major events, weddings and birthdays.

Palmer held WA heats of the Miss Universe contest last year and was the hub of this year’s Margaret River Wine Festival. Both were outstanding successes.
One thing about the Palmers, they aren’t content to just watch the vines grow under them, so to speak.
They have just established a new cellar door adjacent to the restaurant, where it was previously housed.
This has created yet another quality facility at Palmer and created more room in the restaurant for diners.
It also has its own unique characteristics, with its stone-look, barn appearance.

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Sunnyhurst Winery Merlot 2010

Sunnyhurst Winery
Merlot 2010
Review by Ray Jordan - The West Australian Wine Guide

Sunnyhurst Winery Merlot 2010

Opens with an earthy fruitcake mix on the nose with traces o chocolate and savoury plum. The palate is soft and smooth with supple tannins and a little oak.

Licorice and dark Satsuma plum with a savoury character together. Rich and generous mouth feel [ is this a merlot or what??]


SunnyHurst - Makers of fine, hand made table wines, Sunnyhurst is a consistant winner of medals at both WA and interstate wine shows. Visit for winery talk to the winemaker, taste the wines.
The beautiful Sunnyhurst Gardens are the perfect venue for a country garden wedding.

Region:  Blackwood Valley

Wednesday, 30 October 2013

Hillbrook Merlot 2011

Hillbrook Merlot 2011
Hillbrook Merlot 2011

We are now releasing our 2011 Hillbrook Merlot, a medium bodied, elegant and silky smooth wine with spicy plum aromas and a little cedary oak. The palate displays excellent fruit characteristics with fine grainy tannins and well-weighted oak in support. The structure carries the palate to an effortlessly long finish.

This wine has won medals at the 2013 Sydney Royal, Perth Royal and Royal Adelaide Wine Shows. It will continue to evolve over the next few years.

Hillbrook Merlot 2010

A deep ruby colour, rich plum and berry fruits predominate with a hint of strawberry jam and a touch of cigar box. The rich fruitiness is complemented by a creamy texture and soft silky tannins.

Ray Jordan of The West Australia Wine Guide says:

"Medium bodied, elegant and silky smooth merlot. Spicy plum aromas with a little cedar oak, The palate displays some excellent fruit characteristics with fine, grainy tannins and well weighted oak in support."

Ray adds this personal touch: "I like the structure which carries the palate to an effortlessly long finish."

Wayne says: Where is my bottle guys... this will go GREAT with a STEAK on the plate

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Truffle Hill - Merlot 2011

Truffle Hill - Merlot 2011

Deep red with crimson hues, this Merlot presents plummy, dark fruit aromas. Soft fruit with lovely sweet plumminess and smooth texture characterises the palate of this easy, ready to drink style.

Juicy and fruit-forward with silky tannins that leave the mouth with lingering tones of milk chocolate and coffee.

Composition: 100% Merlot, Pemberton WA.

You could drink it now [ YES PLEASE ] or cellar for 5 - 8 years.

Ray Jordan of The West Australian Wine guide says:

"Good current drinking!"

Monday, 28 October 2013

Woodgate 2011 Merlot Manjimup Region Western Australia

The wine make says: The Woodgate  2011 Merlot  brings a more structured body to Merlot. With a small amount of Cabernet, and a deep red colour, fruit characters of ripe plums and berry fruits lead to hints of chocolate, spice and cedar.

A refined elegant finish brings it all into focus.

Cellar: 4 – 6 years.

Ray Jordan of The West Australian Wine Guide says:

"Plenty of promise here. An extra year in the bottle has added a degree of richness to the mid palate."

Friday, 18 October 2013

Canadian Merlots - A Really Good Drop

Hi. This is Wayne Mansfield with an update to Merlot A Day. Sorry I've been away for a while, but I've actually been away for five weeks. And over the next few episodes, I'll update you with the merlots I've been drinking from all over the world. We spent two and a bit weeks in the UK. Some fabulous merlots, but unfortunately not from the UK.

So I'll come back in a later episode and tell you the fabulous Chilean and other South American merlots I was tasting there. Then I spent some time in Canada, and we're going to talk in this session about three merlots that I tasted when I was in Canada. And then a couple of weeks on the Zuiderdam cruise ship and the wines that they had to share. So today I'm going to talk about three particular merlots. Lauren, who's putting together this video, will have behind me also the vineyard tours notes, how the wine is put together and why that's special. But three particular ones.

So the first one was called Sterling Merlot. And I'm a steak and merlot person. My best steak ever in my whole life, and that's not exaggeration, was at Whistler resort, the Westin Inn. It was absolutely fabulous. And it came with a local merlot, a Canadian merlot from the Sterling estate. So its merlot is just superb. In terms of cost, I'm not really sure, because we were in a five-star hotel, so they were charging outrageously for it.

But it's probably a $25 a bottle, really great taste, and I would give it, if it was possible, five glasses out of five on our scale. It was great value, amazing drinking, and very moorish. So that's the first one. And then on our trip we went a bit further down the track, and we went to Jasper's Creek, which is part of the Rocky Mountains. And there, with the evening meal we tried Cedar's Creek Merlot. It was superb.

Again, we don't hear much about Canada, because their wineries are very small and they produce, you know, five to ten thousand dozen bottles. So they're not exported anywhere of any extent in the world. But if you go to Canada, I'd recommend Cedar's Creek Merlot. It's a great drop. Again, pretty close to top. I would think it's probably $35 a bottle, but a great drink. And then in Banff at the Banff Springs Fairmont Hotel, which is just, just superb, we had with our evening meal a wine called La Frenz Merlot. Now I don't think it was a Canadian one with a name like La Frenz.

But it could have been, because as you know, French Canada, they have great wines as well. So the notes that Lauren had put up with this video will say where that comes from. But again, a superb merlot. But this one was nudging about $50 a bottle. So on the value stakes, probably not as good as the Sterling, but certainly a fabulous drink. So there's three more to my Merlot A Day, as I go around the world trying to sample every merlot that there is in the world. I can tell you it's a fabulous journey, and thanks for sharing it.

And until next I see you again, this is Wayne Mansfield 
saying, "Cin-cin."

Thursday, 10 October 2013


Merlot (pronounced Mare-LOW)

Merlot is the most widely planted red grape in France’s Bordeaux region, although it is eclipsed in stature by cabernet sauvignon, the grape with which it is routinely blended. In recent years, Merlot has enjoyed a explosion in popularity, especially in the United States, South America, Italy and Australia. In California, plantings have risen from 4,000 acres in 1988 to over 50,000 today.

A thin-skinned variety, merlot ripens earlier in the season then cabernet sauvignon and is less hardy, prone to a variety of ailments from shatter (the loss of potential fruit during flowering of the vine) to rot and mildew. It is more adaptable to cool climates than cabernet sauvignon, but similarly prefers a relatively warm growing environment.

Merlot’s popularity is due to the fact that it is softer, fruitier, and earlier-maturing than cabernet sauvignon, yet displays many of the same aromas and flavors – black cherry, currant, cedar, and green olive – along with mint, tobacco and tea-leaf tones. Although enjoyable as a varietal wine, it is probably most successful when blended with cabernet sauvignon, which contributes the structure, depth of flavor, and ageability merlot lacks.
Like cabernet, merlot is a good accompaniment to simply prepared beef and lamb dishes.

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

What Are the Benefits of Merlot Wine?

By: Bridget Coila

A glass of merlot could benefit your heart.
A glass of merlot could benefit your heart.
Merlot is a variety of red wine and, like other red wines, has been linked to specific health benefits in moderate drinkers. If you enjoy an occasional drink with dinner or after work, choosing a glass of merlot can potentially benefit your health in ways that other alcoholic beverages can't.

Heart Health

The primary beneficial component in merlot is resveratrol, a compound produced by grapes that is concentrated when the grapes are converted into wine. Much of the research around resveratrol has focused on its effects on the heart. According to the Mayo Clinic, resveratrol may help protect blood vessel linings, reduce cholesterol and prevent blood clots. Further research is needed to determine the specific effects of resveratrol on the heart and to determine whether red wine has enough of this beneficial compound to cause noticeable effects in people who regularly drink it.

Prebiotic Potential

Scientists from the University of Barcelona reported in the May 2012 issue of the "American Journal of Clinical Nutrition" that resveratrol exerted a prebiotic effect. Essentially, this compound in merlot helps boost the growth and activity of beneficial bacteria in the digestive tract, which may help protect you from gastrointestinal illness and reduce inflammation in the body. While most research on gut bacteria focuses on taking probiotics, such as those found in yogurt, this study suggests that you might be able to help your existing gut flora by drinking a glass of merlot or other red wine each day.

Other Effects

In May 2012, scientists presented research at the 244th National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society that indicated a link between resveratrol intake and better mobility in old age. Also, a 2008 study in the "Journal of Nutrition" linked red wine consumption to better cognitive performance in older adults. Other health benefits have been linked to red wine consumption in animal models, including protection against diabetes and obesity, but human studies are still needed, according to the Mayo Clinic.


The key to gaining the benefits of merlot is to drink responsibly. Drinking more than one drink per day if you are female or two drinks a day if you are male can potentially cause more harm than good. One drink is considered to be 5 ounces of wine. If you do not currently drink, do not start drinking merlot in an attempt to gain health benefits.

Source: http://woman.thenest.com

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Blackstone Winery Merlot

Blackstone Winery Merlot
Blackstone Winery was founded in 1990 with the goal of producing approachable, full-bodied, well-balanced wines. We believe in good friends, good food and juicy conversations-and our wines are the ideal complement. Winemaker Gary Sitton, a Sonoma native with more than 10 years of winemaking experience in Sonoma county, is passionate about this winegrowing region. Gary believes that, "Sonoma County is one of the most fabulous places in the world to live and make wine.

The wonderful combination of topography, landscape, weather, and people that is found here offers me the resources to make exactly the kinds of wines I like: expressive, rich and balanced, full of fruit and varietal character. I live here, work here, play here, and am raising a family here. That gives me a real insight into this region." Gary holds a Master of Science in Enology and Viticulture from the renowned winemaking program at the University of California Davis.

Tasting notes

Rich fruit aromas, elegance, supple oak characters and soft tannins. With lifted dark cherry and berry aromas and a touch of spicy clove, this wine is sure to be a crowd-pleaser. The texture is ripe and soft in the mouth, with bright cherry fruit flavors and a soft, lingering finish.

Food pairing

Blackstone Merlot will pair nicely with rack of lamb, grilled burgers and tomato-based pasta dishes.

On the MUST TRY list...

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz

Penfolds Koonunga Hill Shiraz
Penfolds was founded in 1844 by Dr. Rawson Penfold at Magill in South Australia.

Today, Penfolds is one of the largest exporters of Australian wine and part of one of the largest wine companies in Australia. It produces a wide range of wines, the best known being the renowned Grange.

From humble beginnings in the 1950s, Grange has maintained its place as Australia's most prestigious red wine over four decades. An Australian icon, Grange represents a tradition in winemaking that is totally uncompromising.

Tasting notes

This shiraz is a plumper style with plush red-berried fruits, generosity of flavor and supple ripe tannins. It has excellent structure and length.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Arlewood Merlot - Margaret River Western Australia

Arlewood Merlot

The Arlewood Merlot 2011 ia a French-inspired classic from beautiful Margaret River region - where I was born!!

Garry produces miniscule amounts of Merlot that is rather European in style. Perhaps it’s because he’s of Italian heritage and his grandfather and great grandfather were winemakers … as well as barrel makers and coffin makers!

Merlot shines in the Margaret River, where it’s tempered by cool sea breezes and nourished by the purest rainfall carried on the winds from Antarctica.

Enticing aromas of cassis and violet with a background of classic Margaret River tobacco leaf and liquorice. Enjoy its smooth plum flavours with meaty sirloin steak on the BBQ

Thursday, 13 June 2013

Parish Lane Wines MERLOT 2010

Parish Lane Merlot 2010
A plump and fleshy merlot from the Great Southern region displaying a lifted spicy character with touhes of fruitcake and savoury oak. The palate is soft and smooth with a seamless oak and tannin integration.

Medium weight with dark chocolate and lush plum flavours. Nice sustained finish ideal current drinking wine. [ note by Ray Jordan]


Albany is located south west of Perth, within the Great Southern Wine Region. An ideal environment for cool-climate sustainable viticulture, synonymous with producing unique fruitful aromatic wines.

Richard and Julie Parish, proud owners of Parish Lane, produce their wines in small quantities, allowing a hands-on approach with all tasks. Hand picked fruit is aged in oak barrels for 12 months prior to bottling.

 The hand crafted quality reflects the personality of the owners' established approach, and philosophy, to their vineyard, with a ‘close eye’ on quality and integrity, resulting in great tasting wines.

Spark Plud Merlot 2010 Oranje Tractor Wine

Couldn't find a picture of the merlot so here is
celeb chef Curtis Stone visiting the Tractor
Mmmm such an interesting story IF the people behind  Oranje Tractor Wine actually out some notes on their website... http://www.oranjetractor.com it is like they have been seduced by Facebook but even there they have forgotten about the WINE!!

From the website here is what they have about their red wines:

" 2008 Merlot Velvety, Smooth & elegant " that's it!!

Ray Jordan from the West Australian Wine Guide has expanded a little:

Oranje Tractor Spark Plug Merlot [ at a not too cheap $35 a bottle!! ] is a pretty good sparkling red wine. Sweet ripe fruit characters with lots of delicioiusly plummy merlot fruit. Has good flavour intensity with a lovely mouth feel [ What is that when it is at home??] Finishes nice and clean.

The winery is in the GREAT SOUTHERN region of Western Australia just a few ks from Albany.

Wayne's comment:  Come on guys... lift your marketing game...

Friday, 17 May 2013

Nannup Ridge 2010 Firetower Merlot - Western Australia

Nannup Ridge
2010 Firetower Merlot
According to the winemaker, 2010 Firetower Merlot is Muscular but refined!

This wine has a lifted nose of red currant and cedary French oak, with a background of forest floor earthiness.

The palate is very elegant with fine tannins, depth of sweet dark fruit, layered complexity and a very long finish.

Superb with hearty fare!

14.2% Alc

Some History:

The Nannup Ridge vineyard sits high on the granite ridges of the Blackwood River Escarpment.

During the growing season, the vines enjoy long hours of sunshine followed by cool evenings and moderate coastal breezes in the afternoon, idyllic growing conditions. Abundant water, granite loam soils and low frost and disease pressure all contribute to reliable quality and consistent vintages.

The first 12 hectares of vines were planted in 1998, with subsequent plantings taking place in 2000, and 2006. The vineyard now comprises 31 hectares of Cabernet Sauvignon, Shiraz, Merlot, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, with Tempranillo and Malbec available in 2011.

Wayne's note... looking forward to tasting this well regarded Merlot. Guys just drop a bottle by

Friday, 26 April 2013

First Cape Limited Release Merlot 2011

8 GBP about $15An elegant combination of ripe plum and black cherry complemented by dark chocolate that lends complexity to this blend.

I bought this to serve to friends at a buffet lunch party and was complimented by more than one person on my choice.
It is medium bodied enough to drink on its own but went well with an assortment of food. I would order it again as my regular house red.



Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Merlot a Day - Lisa McGuigan With Wayne Mansfield

he Lisa McGuigan Silver Collection is about celebrating some of Australia's best region-variety combinations so join the party with this 2011 Barossa Shiraz.

This Barossa Shiraz is dense, bright red in the glass with a rich nose showing dark fruit with hints of youngberry and raspberry. Rich and elegant, it's a real fruit-driven style with plush, concentrated flavours, firm yet juicy tannins and a great mouthfeel. A real crowd pleaser and a great result from the 2011 vintage.

Value: $20 a bottle                     Wayne Mansfield Ratting: 4 out 5 Glasses

Wednesday, 10 April 2013

Barefoot Merlot California USA

Barefoot Merlot
Founded in 1986, Michael Houlihan and Bonnie Harvey introduced Barefoot Cellars wines. "We loved the name and the concept of being barefoot and living the carefree lifestyle," stated Harvey.

They launched the brand with two varietals, Barefoot California Cabernet Sauvignon and Barefoot California Sauvignon Blanc, both in the 1.5 Liter size.

In early 1992, Barefoot Chardonnay was added to the Barefoot repertoire and Barefoot White Zinfandel in late 1993.

The wines were recognized by awards, acclaimed wine writers and repeat customers. "We couldn't keep up with the demand which meant that it was time to grow the staff and add more 'Barefooters' to our team! We started working more directly with distributors, hiring merchandisers and sales people," stated Houlihan. Jennifer Wall, Barefoot Winemaker, was hired in September of 1995.

"Barefoot California wines are perfect as everyday dinner wines for wine connoisseurs of all levels of experience," comments Wall. "The wines are affordable, varietally correct, soft and approachable and are immediately ready to drink off the shelf."

Tasting notes

Barefoot Merlot is a luscious wine with alluring flavors of boysenberry and chocolate. Hints of anise and subtle tannins complement the decadent, silky finish.


May 2011 Ultimate Wine Challenge

Food pairing

Beef, poultry and dessert are just a few of the places this wine can go.

Thursday, 14 March 2013

14 Hands Winery Merlot 2010

14 Hands Winery Merlot 2010
The inspiration for 14 Hands wines recalls a time when wild mustangs once freely roamed the hills of eastern Washington State. These small horses, measuring a scant 14 hands high - a “hand” being equivalent to a man’s palm width and how horses were measured then - would travel down from the hills every day to drink from the mighty Columbia River and graze upon the luscious waist high grasses along the riverbank, and then retreat back up into the hills to cool off at night. Strong and tenacious, these little horses became known for their endurance and were revered around the world.

Tasting notes

14 Hands Merlot offers classic Washington aromas of blackberries, plums and black cherries. Expressive flavors of berries and cherries are joined by subtle nuances of mocha and spice.

On my list to Taste!! From Washington USA

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Vasse Felix Cabernet Merlot 2010

Vasse Felix
Cabernet Merlot 2010
"This wine comes from the northern part of Margaret River where optimal ripeness is assured. Maturation in French oak barriques provides complexity to this generous, elegant and structured wine."

Wine makers notes: Food Matching: Grilled, roasted or braised red meats

Deep red with a crimson hue

Fresh raspberry, red currant and black currant aromas create a platform for delicate herbal nuances of mint and bay leaf. Beautifully integrated, the French oak provides a subtle vanillin and spice fragrance

The wine lands with sweet fruit, fine powdery tannins and a juicy, mouth watering acid structure. The flavours display a lovely contrast of red berry, fresh mint and dried bay leaf. It finishes fine and long with sweet berry and savoury tones of earth and spice

   Virginia Willcock

Margaret River, Western Australia

Peak Drinking
Enjoy now or cellar well for 3-4 years Varieties 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Merlot, 8% Malbec

From home town... this is a really great drop of red.