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Country of Origin & Region


South Africa, Elgin

Downes Family Vineyards

Downes Family Merlot 2014 - last 7 bts

90 pts Stephen Tanzer/Vinous *was $29.99*

Tasting Notes

::Known as Downes Family Wines in the U.S. and Shannon Family Wines in South Africa::

April 2016
The 2014 Downes Merlot is sourced from a three-hectare plot, divided into five parcels representing the five clones grown on the site. The nose is quite youthful with notes of light cocoa powder and light baking spice shading the dark red plum fruit tones with a touch of meatiness coming through as well. Medium fuller bodied and showing youthful vibrancy and freshness, the fruit tones are deep red and lifted and touched up with graphite with good acidity and a note of minerality, while the tannins are firmer giving good supporting grip on the backend. Still youthfully clinched this should really come together with a year or two more of bottle age where it should show well for several more years after that.

Awards, Reviews and other Notes

90 pts Vinous/Tanzer
(no new oak): Good healthy dark red. Some distinctly herbal tones to the aromas of redcurrant, tobacco leaf, licorice and woodsmoke. Surprisingly intense on the palate in a penetrating, savory style, with cherry, redcurrant, and tobacco flavors framed by brisk peppery acidity. In a distinctly Old World mold, but I can see this wine mellowing and deepening with bottle age. Finishes with a fine dusting of tannins and very good lift and length. Note that this is not the winery’s flagship Mount Bullet Merlot but it’s intriguing nevertheless.

Winemaker Notes

The grapes are picked from a small 3 hectare vineyard. The vineyard is divided up into 5 different parcels each with its own respective clone. The soil, trellising and canopy management is constant through out the vineyard so it is the actual clonal characteristics that determine the different dates of harvest. Over the years we have learnt that there is as much as 11 – 14 days difference between picking the first clone to picking the last clone. The bunches are chilled to 3ºC before being sorted on a conveyor and destemmed. Berries are then hand sorted, before cold maceration ensues for 3 to 6 days at 8ºC. We try to naturally ferment 100% of the different parcels of grapes making up the Mount Bullet. Fermentation temperatures vary between 26 - 30ºC. After pressing, the wine is racked and left to complete its malolactic fermentation and maturation in oak barriques.

Chemical Analysis




Total Acid: 5.8 g/l
pH: 3.38
Residual Sugar: 2.2
Free/Total Sugar: 14/105




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