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Rust en Vrede Merlot 2016

    750ML / 14.5% ABV
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    750ML / 14.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Deep ruby red in color, this wine offers aromas of cedar spice and mulberries, which lead the nose to a subtle hint of black cherry, potpouri and tobacco. The palate is full-bodied with subtle, grippy tannins as well as structured fruit flavors and savory notes.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Rust en Vrede

    Rust en Vrede

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    Rust en Vrede, South Africa
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    Nestled on the slopes of the Helderberg Mountain in the Stellenbosch wine region lies this beautiful estate of 55 hectares. Known for consistently producing wines of high quality, Rust en Vrede is now considered to be one of the finest estates in South Africa when it comes to the making of truly great red wines. Established in 1694, it is one of the oldest estates in the Stellenbosch area and displays exquisite examples of Cape Dutch architecture.

    In 1991, President Nelson Mandela awarded the Merit award of export achievement to the estate. During this period, they tirelessly worked on building the Rust en Vrede brand into a world quality product. These efforts were rewarded in 1993 when President Mandela selected Rust en Vrede to be served at the prestigious Nobel Peace Prize banquet.

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    South Africa

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    With an important wine renaissance in full swing, impressive red and white bargains abound in South Africa. The country has a particularly long and rich history with winemaking, especially considering its status as part of the “New World.” In the mid-17th century, the lusciously sweet dessert wines of Constantia were highly prized by the European aristocracy. Since then, the South African wine industry has experienced some setbacks due to the phylloxera infestation of the late 1800s and political difficulties throughout the following century.

    Today, however, South Africa is increasingly responsible for high-demand, high-quality wines—a blessing to put the country back on the international wine map. Wine production is mainly situated around Cape Town, where the climate is generally warm to hot. But the Benguela Current from Antarctica provides brisk ocean breezes necessary for steady ripening of grapes. Similarly, cooler, high-elevation vineyard sites throughout South Africa offer similar, favorable growing conditions.

    South Africa’s wine zones are divided into region, then smaller districts and finally wards, but the country’s wine styles are differentiated more by grape variety than by region. Pinotage, a cross between Pinot Noir and Cinsault, is the country’s “signature” grape, responsible for red-fruit-driven, spicy, earthy reds. When Pinotage is blended with other red varieties, like Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah or Pinot Noir (all commonly vinified alone as well), it is often labeled as a “Cape Blend.” Chenin Blanc (locally known as “Steen”) dominates white wine production, with Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc following close behind.

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    Merlot

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    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.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    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 permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    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.

    SOU123063_2016 Item# 506848

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