Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve The Lighthouse Merlot is part of a new premium wines made with grapes grown around the town of Durbanville in the Western Cape. It is bottled as a Wine of Origin Durbanville.
Durbanville Hills wines is a small collection of growers, a small co-operative really, with a centralised winery. The collective was originally formed in the late 1990s when a group of seven local grape farmers made an agreement with Distell (one of South Africa’s largest wine companies and owners of other Plaisir de Merle, Nederburg et al.) that Distell would build a new cellar to make wine their 7 farms. The Durbanville Hills cellars are located some 20 minutes from Cape Town’s city centre and overlooks Table Mountain, Table Bay and Robben Island. This is an ultramodern facility that can compare with the world’s best. The cool climate region, the best grapes and modern winemaking produce excellent quality wines.
Today there are 9 growers, whose vineyards are all located closed to the cellars. The nine member farms are Klein Roosboom, Ongegund, Hillcrest, Maastricht, Morgenster, Bloemendal and Hooggelegen. Another two producers from the farms Welbeloond and De Grendel recently joined the cellar. Vineyards in the regions date back to the late 17th century, the Klein Roosboom farm was established in 1714 for example.
The grapes for the Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve The Lighthouse Merlot are 100% Merlot. They are sourced principally from an 18-year-old North-facing vineyard on the open
Westerly side of the valley. The leaf canopy here stays naturally small allowing more sunlight through to the grapes which is a key feature in producing good, ripe Merlot as it avoids the unwanted green flavours associated with vigorous canopies. Green harvesting was done to ensure even ripeness. Merlot under dry conditions can easily go into water stress resulting in
unbalanced wine, so the selected vineyards have red Hutton soil with fairly high clay content, ensuring good water retention. The balance of the grapes come from came from a South-facing vineyard block on the Westerly side of the valley in close proximity to Table Bay. This vineyard delivers strong mulberry flavours and ripens evenly on fairly deep
red Hutton soil with good water retention.
The grapes for Durbanville Hills Collectors Reserve The Lighthouse Merlot are hand-picked into 500kg fruit bins and handled with minimum. They are destemmed into 1 ton and 15 ton
fermenters where the the must was left overnight and drained of 10 – 15% of its juice to
concentrate body, flavour and aroma compounds on the final product. Fermentation was started with a preferred yeast strain. The wine undergoes continuous timer-regulated pump-over cycles, in combination with compressed air and regular manual punch downs on the smaller bins, were used to extract maximum fruit, tannin and colour. The wine was matured in a combination of new and second fill extra tight grained French oak barrels for 14 months. Winemakers are Martin Moore and Wilhelm Coetzee.
This range of wines is inspired by Cape Town’s radiant energy and creative demeanour and the labels feature artwork by Capetonian artist Theo Vorster. This one features the cheery red and white candy-striped lighthouse in Green Point with its foghorn, affectionately known as “Moaning Minnie”.