Merlot, McLaren Vale

Merlot in Australia is not a variety you will often see unblended, until recently. It is most often used to add suppleness and mid-palate to Cabernet’s stern, serious structure. In Australia, Merlot is now achieving considerable recognition as a varietal wine. Merlot blended wines are available from the warmer inland regions, such as Riverina, Riverland and Murray Darling. Single varietal Merlot from the Barossa Valley and McLaren Vale produces a softer dry plummy wine. Whereas the cooler climates such as the Yarra Valley and Margaret River tends to take on more savoury characters with firmer tannins.

It is the most widely planted grape in Bordeaux, France where planting has rapidly expanded throughout the world in the last decade. Merlot is adaptable to most soils, is relatively simple to cultivate and is a naturally high yielding. In St Emilion and Pomerol, it withstands the moist clay-rich soils far better than Cabernet, producing opulently rich, plummy wines. Le Pin, Pétrus and Clinet are examples of some of the best (and most expensive) Merlot based wines.

Merlot is now grown in virtually all wine growing countries and is particularly successful in New Zealand, California, Chile and Northern Italy. New Zealand's Hawkes Bay is producing outstanding Merlot-based blends, especially from the Gimblett Gravels.
The McLaren Vale wine region is located less than an hours drive south of Adelaide, straight down the picturesque coastline.

Shiraz is by far the most widely planted variety, and the most important variety for the region, accounting for about 50% of the total crush. Every winery in the region will likely be producing at least one or more Shiraz wines, and with the wide range of unique terroirs available, each influenced by the maritime climate in unique ways, each Shiraz will have its own regional nuances.

Shiraz produced in McLaren Vale will often exhibit chocolate and coffee notes, with a little less pepper than those from Barossa Valley, and are often blended with Grenache. Other red varieties grown include Cabernet Sauvignon (and Merlot blends) Sangiovese, Tempranillo, Petit Verdot, Tannat and Zinfandel. The main white variety would be Chardonnay, however Sémillon and it's common blending partner Sauvignon Blanc are made, alongside lesser amounts of Riesling, Pronto Bianco, Vermentino and Fiano.

If you plan to visit McLaren Vale there are over 65 cellar doors so you'll be spoiled for choice, ranging from the small-boutique wineries to very large wineries. The drive from McLaren Vale up to the Barossa Valley is very scenic, passing over the rolling Adelaide Hills, and though the quaint German-settled town of Hahndorf.
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  1. Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard 'The Revivalist' Merlot 2017
    It smells comforting at first, but as the drinker delves, the bouquet unveils mossy, damp forest earth, and then fresher, leafy greens emerge with their tannins. Medium bodied, strawberry and plum, savoury, grainy graphite tannin, cool acidity, tomato paste flavour ... Learn More
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    Huon Hooke
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
  2. Hickinbotham The Revivalist Merlot 2018
    The Revivalist has a powerful bouquet of black cherry, milk chocolate and a touch of bay laurel. Bold flavours of blackberries and barrel toast are enveloped in a lush mouthfeel. Hardly lacking in structure, the wine is incredibly balanced with ... Learn More
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
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    Gary Walsh
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    Nick Stock
  3. Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard 'The Revivalist' Merlot 2016
    100% Merlot matured in French oak for 15 months. ... Learn More
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    Huon Hooke
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    James Halliday's Wine Companion
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  4. Hickinbotham Clarendon Vineyard 'The Revivalist' Merlot 2015
    100% Merlot matured in French oak for 15 months. ... Learn More
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    James Halliday
    Out of stock
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