“The Italian Job” White Merlot 2017 [Vintage]
From: The Family Collection wines are our small batch bottlings of unique and quirky parcels made for inquisitive wine drinkers.
Why On Earth? Many years ago, at a dinner in Zürich my friends, Peter and Jenny, introduced me to white Merlot (Merlot bianco) made in Ticino, the Italian-speaking (southern) Canton of Switzerland. This is my interpretation of those Chardonnay-style wines. The first vintage, 2008, being slightly pink, was refused official White Merlot status and so it became The Italian Job.
Grapes:Merlot (85%) and Old Vine Swartland Chenin Blanc (15%)
Winemaking: Merlot, a red-skinned grape of course, is selectively hand harvested and then whole bunch pressed with minimal press tumbling and pressure to ensure minimal leaching of colour from the grape skins. After brief sedimentation to remove solids, the juice was fermented with naturally occurring yeasts in 9 x 225 litre 2nd, 3rd and 4th fill French oak barrels. A portion of Old Vine Swartland Chenin Blanc, vinified in a Nomblot cement egg and seasoned oak barrels, was also included in the blend. The wines were matured sur lie for up to fourteen months and bottled in February 2018. Only 2644 bottles made.
Alcohol: 12.92 vol%
Residual sugar: 4.7 g/l
Total acidity: 5.7 g/l
Total extract: 22.5 g/l
Comments: Brilliant clarity and brightness as one would expect from a white wine, our Italian Job is now officially classified as a ‘White Merlot’. It’s a wine that’s difficult to describe – delicate rose petal, white peach, quince and faint flint aromatics follow through to a textured palate and crisp linearity. This unique wine commands richer-styled foods such as smoked salmon risotto, juicy crab cakes, sweet scallops and beetroot carpaccio. It evens pairs phenomenally with rich Picanha. Chilled, this wine is also the perfect accompaniment when pondering the meaning of life…