Arabella Merlot

Tasting Notes

Succulent flavours of ripe plum and blackcurrant, enhanced by hints of coffee and chocolate. Soft tannins lend a firm structure and a long soft finish.

Alc: 14 RS: 4.4 pH: 3.74 TA: 4.8


Gold Wine Awards Gold 2019

Gold Wine Awards Gold 2018

Ultra Value Award Gold 2016
Old Mutual Trophy Bronze 2017
Old Mutual Great Value Award 2017
Gold Wine Awards Gold 2017
Ultra Value Award Silver 2017

Old Mutual Trophy Silver 2015
Ultra Value Award Silver 2015

Michelangelo Silver 2014

Michelangelo 2013 – Gold Award
IWC – Commended Award 2013

Best Value Guide 2013

Michelangelo 2010 – Silver Award
Michelangelo 2009 – Gold Award
Decanter 2010 – Silver Award
IWC 2010 – Bronze Award

Wine Magazine 2009 – Best Value
Michelangelo 2008 – Silver Award


In the Vineyard

Soil Types
The vineyards are planted on the floor of what was, many millions of years ago, a great inland lake. Evidence of this lake can be seen in the massive water washed boulders. As the rainfall declined the lake dried up leaving a deposit of calcareous silt many meters thick. The drying of the soil and the effect of the elements cured the top layer of this calcareous silt into rock hard calcium carbonate. At first it was thought that these soils were only suitable for pastures as the roots of orchards and vineyards could not penetrate the calcium carbonate. The era of the big machine, which could rip through the hard calcium carbonate to a depth of 1.5 meters to access the calcareous silt underneath, changed this perception. Vineyards now flourish and produce wonderful wine where there once was arid veldt. A near perfect viticultural terroir has been created where man can manipulate conditions as he sees fit.

Clonal / Rootstock Selection
One clone is used, MO192 – Older Italian selection that has bigger berries and shoulders. It has red berries and grassy characteristics and tends to have bigger productions. Good clone for fruit characters and blends well.

Two rootstocks are used, 101-14 and Richter 110. Some of the older vines were planted with 101-14, but it has become apparent that our soils are more suited to Richter 110. The problem with 101-14 is that it has a shallow root structure and is more prone to suffer from water stress at the critical ripening periods. Conversely, Richter 110 has a stronger root structure which enables us to better control deficit water management in the period before veraison.

The Harvest:
Merlot is picked between 7 March and 21 March.
Yield Per Vine: (weighted average) 3 kg
Yield Per HA: (weighted average) 10 tonnes
Maturity Analysis at Harvest (weighted averages): Brix: 25°-26°

In the Cellar:
Once crushed the wine is pumped into fermentation tanks. Tailored pump overs are done twice daily during fermentation to obtain delicate fruit tannins and maximize flavours and colour extraction. Wine and skins then pumped into an airbag press with a central inflatable membrane. The entire outer cylinder of the press has drainage holes to speed up the process of pressing and increases the amount of juice extracted. Following the gentle pressing, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation in tanks. Wine is then put on French Oak for about 5-10 months to add softness and complexity to the wine.

Growing Season Growing Data (October – April)
Rainfall: 333.7mm
Mean Maximum Temperatures: 24.95°C
Mean Minimum Temperatures: 10.27°C
Vine Age: 3-10 years
Pruning Regime: Cordon/Spur Pruned, Vertical Shoot Positioning

Blend Information:
100% Merlot


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About this wine

Food Pairing

Merlot wine matches with a wide variety of foods because of its position in the middle of the red wine spectrum. In general Merlot pairs well with chicken and other light meats as well as lightly-spiced dark meats.

Tasting Notes

Succulent flavours of ripe plum and blackcurrant, enhanced by hints of coffee and chocolate. Soft tannins lend a firm structure and a long soft finish.


Merlot; Merlot is first traced back to Bordeaux, France, in 1784 when a French official labeled the grape as one of the area’s best. Several years later, in 1824, the word “Merlot” was assigned to the grape because the local blackbird, named merlau, had a particular liking for the ripe grapes.


South Africa

About the Winemaker

Arabella is a new venture established on land which has been in the De Wet family since the 1860’s. As the vineyards had been established many years previously, it was assured that top quality wines would be produced at Arabella. A new cellar, bottling hall and tasting room was built at the beginning of 2006 and the first vintage from the cellar was produced in 2006. Arabella got off to an auspicious start when the Arabella Shiraz 2007 won a double gold at the Michelangelo International Wine Challenge. It is the family’s desire to establish the Arabella brand by giving our customers the very best quality at the very best price possible. But just good quality is not enough – we want our customers to have a special experience when drinking Arabella wines.