Pepper Tree Estate, Wrattonbully Merlot 2013
The Wrattonbully wine region is sandwiched between Coonawarra and Padthaway in South Eastern South Australia and, just like its neighbouring districts, enjoys regionally distinctive terroir and abundant underground water. The Terra Rossa soils and limestone ridges have proven to be an ideal environment for growing Cabernet and Shiraz, but also Merlot wines of unusual power and persistence.
The Pepper Tree 2013 Merlot is made from 100% Merlot fruit and is sourced from the Wrattonbully vineyards on the southern end of the Limestone Coast. And it’s definitely not your typically soft and mellow style! The nose is slightly dusty and reeks of plump ripe raspberries, but once on the palate a spicy cascade of mulberries and blackcurrants become a mouth-filling tidal wave of voluptuous richness. It’s perhaps a few steps beyond ‘medium bodied’, but the plush fruit, hints of cassis and plums allow it to carry through a lengthy conclusion.
There’s a lashing of savoury oak to add balance at the back but it’s powerless to constrain the overwhelming peppery spiciness that is the hallmark of the region.
The power and presence of the Pepper Tree Merlot is atypical of the style and will appeal to lovers of full-bodied reds, especially at its $19 price point.