The Pillar Box Tree Merlot
The drive here has been to match varietal with site and soil type. The Darling District has only recently been demarcated and the cool and temperate west coast where this Merlot vineyard is planted has a very specific micro-climate. These vineyards are not irrigated (this means vine roots have to push down to extract water and minerals) are bush vine trained (this means they are planted in bushes rather than down wires so they have to be tended by hand). Soils are decomposed granite with deep red top soils and yield at 5-6 tonnes per hectare.
Bunches are hand picked into small containers and on arrival at the winery are crushed and destalked (stalks have excessive tannins). Fermentation lasts for 12 days at 22-28 celcius with frequent plunging of the skins to extract colour. After malolactic fermentation, the wine is racked into barrels for 10 months. Racking is the drawing off of a wine from the sediment of fermentation. Older barrels are used (3rd and 4th use) to ensure gentle oak influences that integrate quickly and smoothly.