Oxford Landing Merlot 2010
At Oxford Landing, we like to ‘keep it real’. That means maintaining a sense of perspective and recognising what really matters. Remembering where we came from and being proud of our roots. And making wines that are a true reflection of the place they come from. Many of the famous wine regions of Europe are planted around great rivers. The Gironde in Bordeaux, the Tain in the Rhone Valley and the Rhine and Mosel Rivers in Germany. In Australia, we have the Murray River. Set on the banks of South Australia’s majestic Murray River, the Oxford Landing vineyard is named after a nearby site where an old paddle steamer called ‘The City of Oxford’ met with an untimely end. Drovers once grazed and watered sheep here but today it’s home to a loyal flock of down-to-earth folk who take great pride in making quality wines, enjoyed the world over. With 650 acres under vine, we could never call Oxford Landing small but we act like we are. We micro-manage 130 five-acre blocks as separate ecosystems so we become intimately familiar with each block and can give the grapes exactly what they need to achieve optimum flavour. ‘Small vineyard’ techniques such as detailed pruning, canopy management and crop thinning give us ultimate control in expressing the individuality of each block. And we are nimble enough to harvest small batches of the fruit as soon as it ripens, so not an ounce of freshness is lost. The ‘small scale’ approach continues in the winery with methods usually reserved for boutique winemaking. These include using wild ferments native to the vineyard and back-blending with barrel-aged wines. Minimal handling of the juice also means less chance for error or contamination, so the fruit is processed gently yet quickly. Thinking small does make a lot more work for us, but we take pride in working hard to craft quality wine. Every one of our wines is bottled at our winery in Australia. By nurturing the wine every step along the journey from bunch to bottle we can guarantee the authenticity, provenance, quality and consistency of every wine, every day. We put our heart and soul into every bottle of wine we make so there’s no way we would entertain the variances and vagaries of bulk shipping and offshore bottling.
South Australia is the historic heart of Australian wine, a great wine capital of the world, and home to some of the most famous regions. It produces more than 80% of Australia’s premium wine from some of the oldest vines in the world. There is an abundance of varieties and wide spectrum of styles to explore. From the rogue to refined, discover Australian wines that are far from ordinary.
An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot can be made into a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the best wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol where it is blended with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly from California’s Napa Valley.
Tasting Notes for Merlot
Merlot is a dry, red wine known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. From cool climates, Merlot wines will express earthy and herbal notes, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.
Perfect Food Pairings for Merlot
Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity are a hit with pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.
Sommelier Secrets for Merlot
Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.