Frans K Smit Special Release Merlot 2015
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Frans K Smit Special Release Merlot 2015

EAT & DRINK

This defined, abundant Merlot will be a powerhouse alongside deep, flavoursome food such as grass-fed beef short rib or eggplant parmigiana (Parmigiana di Melanzane).

THE WINE

“Planted in 2002, this vineyard is between 220 - 240 meters above sea level and lies on an aspect. The vines grow in decomposed granite soils with clay subsoil that holds water exceptionally well. Not only does this ensure the Merlot grapes ripen evenly and slowly, but it also makes us less reliant on irrigation.

As Spier's main priority is to minimise our environmental impact, this is a win-win situation for man and vine.”

- Johan Jordaan, Spier Cellar Master

THE STORY

Frans Smit was Spier’s prodigious Cellar Master for 27 formative years. In honour of his remarkable influence and ongoing legacy, this wine represents the highest echelon of our winemaking craft. After passing the Cellar Master baton to his successor Johan Jordaan in 2021, Frans and Johan continue to collaborate creatively in the vineyard and cellar. Drawing on years of shared experience and skill, Frans, Johan and the Spier winemaking team spared no effort to create a wine that can rival some of the world’s best.

SOIL & TERROIR

The 20-year-old Merlot vines are grown along the west north-westerly-facing slope of the majestic Helderberg - the southern side of Stellenbosch. Besides a panoramic view of the False Bay coast, the vineyard benefits from a cooling Atlantic ocean breeze that encourages slow ripening. While conditions can be windy at an altitude of 240 metres above sea level, the decomposed granitic soil features clay in the subsoil, which aids in moisture retention and promotes even ripening. This results in small berries concentrated in flavour and tannin.

THE CRAFTING

The grapes for this wine were harvested from specifically selected vineyard rows within the bigger block of the vineyard. All the fruit was hand-picked and delivered to the cellar in small lug boxes where they were kept cool at 8°C. Once the grapes were destemmed, they were individually sorted to ensure only the best coloured and sized fruit were selected. Whole berry fermentation takes place in 600l stainless-steel tanks with an extended skin maceration of 12 - 14 days. The free-run wine was then racked clear for maturation in the barrel.

MATURATION

The wine matured in 100% new 300l French-oak barrels for a period of 30 months on lees. Then we made our selections and started blending the best Merlot components. We used extra fine grain that is smaller than 1.5mm to allow for less oxygen uptake. This allowed the wine to mature slowly and steadily for a more accurate outcome. Ultimately, this process required patience as we wanted the wine to evolve in the barrel.

COLOUR

A beautifully brilliant ruby red.

NOSE & PALATE

The Merlot is wonderfully vivid and expressive from the outset, with ripe scents of black cherry, blackberry and subtle fynbos. Those notes carry through to the palate, where the wine boasts a rich, complex midpalate that is bursting at the seams with energy. The intricate balance of structure and fruit concentration is complemented by a mouthwatering freshness that adds the final shades of nuance. Decant to bring to life even greater intensity and richness.

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Our Ranges

  • Signature Collection
  • Spier De-alcoholised 0.5%
  • Creative Block
  • Good Natured Organic
  • Spier 5.5%
  • Seaward
  • 21 Gables
  • Good Natured
  • Frans K Smit
  • The Yellowwood