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Vintage Report 2005

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Bein Merlot 2005

Bein Merlot 2005 was released in March 2007, and the first comments were very promising, as the American wine critic Stephen Tanzer wrote: "Good deep red. Aromas of plum, redcurrant, graphite and tobacco, with a creamy merlot nuance lurking. Juicy, spicy and fresh; a stylish, firm midweight with currant and gingerbread flavors. Finishes with glossy but firm tannins and notes of licorice and menthol. Varietally accurate and young " (April 2007/ 89+ points) www.wineaccess.com

2005 was also the maiden vintage of our Little Merlot. In that year, the Little Merlot was made from the first crop from our young 5-year old vines, which we replanted in 2000 as replacement for infested plants, when we sanitized our vineyard from Leaf-roll-virus. The wine was matured for one year in third-fill French oak Chateau barrels from Seguin Moreau and blended with 15% of a top quality Petit Verdot.
The result: 1600 bottles of a fine table wine, offering great value for money

Ratings Bein Merlot 2005

- 4 ½ stars by John Platter Wine Guide 2008, South Africa
- Silver medal at the Decanter World Wine Award, London, Mai 2007
- Bronze medal at the Swiss Airline Awards, Cape Town, April 2007
- Bronze medal at Veritas SA 2007
- Bronze medal at the Trophy Wine Show 2007, South Africa
- 89+ points from Stephen Tanzer, April 2007

Analysis

Bein Merlot 2005:  Alc. 14.2%vol, TA 5.6 g/L, pH 3,57
Little Merlot 2005: Alc. 14,2%vol, TA 5,4 g/L, pH 3.51

Vintage Report 2004-2005

After another very mild and dry winter 2004, our vineyard started budding around the 20th of September 2004, the young replanted vines being a bit earlier. The dams were alarmingly empty, and stringent water restrictions were announced for the coming season. Fortunately, October brought the urgently needed rain, 124 mm all in all. Although not enough to fillup the dams, it replenished the soil water reserves and gave us a good start into the season.

As a result, we observed strong vigour throughout the vineyard, and it was difficult to cope with the suckering, shoot positioning and eventually tipping of the vigorously growing shoots. On the other hand, flowering (around 25.10.-10.11.) was undisturbed and even, and berry development accordingly luxuriant, with only little millerandage observed that year.

And the season went on, as it started: very, very dry! The mentioned rain in October was all we had. Luckily, temperatures were moderate, and the wind within the normal limits. As a welcome side effect, we had only little weed growth, which saved us lots of work.

 During the third week of December, we reduced the lavish crop by half, again leaving only one bunch per fruiting shoot in order to promote quality, and in a second round just after veraison, we removed all the late ripening parts and occasional green berries.

March 2005 saw us harvesting into our own new cellar. What a pleasure, even more, since this vintage produced a beautiful crop, harvested under ideal conditions. Thanks to the fact that we could harvest in our own new cellar, we were allowed to pick the grapes at our own pace over two weeks. This enabled us picking each lot at optimal ripeness, with careful sorting already in the vineyard.

In general, the Ballings (sugar content) were higher than usual though at a lower acidity, and with beautifully ripe tannins. Fermentation took place without any problems in the temperature controlled stainless steel fermenters of our new cellar, and yielded 45 barrels of an exceptionally fine wine.

In the cellar

After alcoholic fermentation and extended maceration on the skins over 14 days, the young wine went into the new barrels for malolactic fermentation, in order to get the best possible integration of the wood components. The rest of the wine completed malolactic fermentation in the tank, and came therefore 3 weeks later into the older (2nd and 3rd fill) barrels, which were only by then available due to the change in cellar.

As always at the begin of the new year, we have the difficult task to evaluate the young wines and to compose the final "blend" from our different batches. We again complemented the flagship wine with a splash of Cabernet, this vintage however with Cabernet franc, which we luckily could source in top quality from a neighbouring farm. The result is a full-bodied and rich wine, which was finally bottled in Mai 2006 and allowed a further year of bottle maturation before its release in 2007.
13'600 bottles have been produced from this vintage.