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Vintage Report 2004

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Bein Merlot 2004

The Bein Merlot 2004 is a particularly elegant and well-balanced wine, which convinces with its supple texture and elegant body, ripe and soft, with smooth tannins and a lovely balance and length. It offers comparably early drinking pleasure, still has a good maturation potential for another 5-7 years after release.
As our previous vintages, this wine is an excellent companion to fine dishes such as roast meat or cheese. Thanks to its elegance, it will never overpower the food, but offers enough body and complexity to complement the dishes synergistically.

11600 bottles have been produced.

Tasting notes

Stephen Tanzer, 89 points in his The International Wine Cellar (April 2007):
"Deep red-ruby. Reticent aromas of black fruits and smoky, nutty oak. Lasher on the palate than the young '05, offering almost Graves-like flavours of blackberry, blueberry, minerals and tobacco. Broader and darker than the '05 but with a bit less lift. Finishes dense and rich, with notes of leather and earth" 

 GRAPE online wine magazine(April 2006 ) :
"The clear, dark ruby brilliance pinpoints the wine’s youth, as does its still unrevealing flavours. Aromas hint of red and blackcurrant, extra dark Belgian (Swiss?) chocolate and traces of tobacco and cedar. Although relatively full bodied – at 14%, the alcohol level is the highest yet – the wine has a good acid backbone and beautifully elegant mouth-feel. With a few years’ aging this merlot should prove even more satisfying. Now with their own cellar and well-tended, older vines, future vintages promise to rate even higher"


- 89 points from American wine critic Stephen Tanzer (April 2007)
- Press Prize at the Emozioni del Mondo 2006 in Bergamo / Italy for best SA Merlot
- Bronze medal at the London International Wine and Spirit Competition IWSC 2006
- Bronze medal at the VERITAS Awards South Africa 2006
- 16/20 points by the online wine magazine GRAPE (13.4.2006)
- Bronze medal @ Korea Wine Challenge 2006
- 4 stars by JOHN PLATTER South African Wine Guide 2006


Alc 14.0%Vol, TA 5.6 g/L, pH 3.6

2004 Vintage Report

In the vineyard

Winter 2003 was unusually dry and warm. Beautiful to live here, but problematic for the agriculture. Rainfall was 75% below the long-term average, the soil water reserves depleted and the dams empty. An other undesirable side effect of the warm winter is the fact, that the vines do not get enough cold units, possibly resulting in uneven budding.

Finally, August brought the long awaited rain, but to late for the wheat farmers and to little to compensate the deficit. And eventually it also became cold, but unusually late for the season, so that budding was hold back. We pruned the vines at begin of September, but only in the third week of September, a few warm days initiated budding, announcing the opening of the new vintage.

Despite all, budding was eventually quite even, as was flowering, which occurred during the first half of November. The weather in early summer was ideal for the vines, with lots of sun, very little wind and just one rainy day. Accordingly, a big crop was developing and we started soon with the first flight of bunch thinning. However, the soil was quickly drying up, and growth is pleasantly reserved.

Veraison (change of colour) started in the second week of the new year, about one week later than previous years. This was the time, when we reduced the crop to the appropriate quantity, with the ultimate goal to improve the quality of the remaining fruit. This vintage, we reduced strictly to one bunch per fruiting shoot, and in addition, we also removed late ripening parts of the bunches, such as shoulders and tips, where necessary. The weather was ideal throughout this period, with lots of sunshine, little wind and moderate temperatures.

However, strong rains came at the end of February, but luckily followed again by a warm and dry period. Harvest took place on the 8th of March under ideal conditions, yielding an nice crop at 24 Balling (Brix), but with significantly lower acidity.

In the cellar

The vintage 2004 was vinified in the new cellar of the University of Stellenbosch, Department of Oenology, which offered us good working conditions. Like in the previous years, the fruit was hand-harvested and transported without delay in small 15-kg-crates, in order to avoid any transport damage. In the cellar, the fruit was meticulously sorted on a sorting table prior to the destemmer. After alcoholic fermentation in temperature-controlled, closed stainless steel tanks with pumping over and an extended skin maceration of 10 days, the wine was pressed on the 22nd of March and went straight into small French barriques (40% new) for malolactic fermentation.

Typically for this vintage is its significantly lower acidity compared to other years, and the ripe and soft tannins, and only a very conservative fining with fresh egg-white (from our "happy" hens!) was needed before our Merlot 2004 was filtered and bottled on the 15th of April 2005.