Merlot Cabernet Sauvignon
The Picardy Merlimont allows the Pannells to show a different expression of the Picardy Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and is approximately made up of 40% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon. This reserve blend is only produced in outstanding vintages and is given a full 22 months' barrel maturation.
This is a wine in the style of the old world Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon producing regions - fruity but elegant and with excellent structure which will reward cellaring.
The outstanding features of this wine are its structure, fine grained tannins, low pH without high acidity, excellent colour and pronounced fruit flavours. It should drink superbly for up to twenty years.
In the Vineyard
The vineyard is planted to 50% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 25% Cabernet Franc. However, the wine's final composition varies according to yields and ripeness.
The vines carry a maximum of 8 tonnes per hectare and excess fruit is hand-thinned at veraison. To help keep crop levels down the vineyard is non-irrigated and cane-pruned.
The fruit is ripened to around 13.5° baume, depending on flavour. It is then hand-picked and transported to the nearby winery on the Picardy estate.
In the Winery
In the winery the fruit is destemmed and pumped to overhead small fermenters. The fermentation is carried out at around 25 degrees Celsius to ensure purity of fruit without excess extraction. During fermentation the wine is hand-plunged 3 times per day. The wine and skins are run directly from the fermenter into the airbag press.
After pressing, the different ferments and varieties are then blended as early as possible to give maximum integration time. We also attempt to ferment the Cabernet Franc either with the Merlot or Cabernet Sauvignon, to further enhance integration.
After blending and settling, the wine is then matured in new to four year old French oak barriques (predominately from Bordeaux coopers). While in oak the wine undergoes malolactic fermentation and each barrel is checked and topped up weekly. This wine is usually racked twice during its oak maturation.
After twelve months in oak the wine is racked out of barrel to a tank and then returned to 4 and 5 year old French oak barriques for a further 10 months of maturation. Extended maturation in older oak softens the wine without adding oak flavour. After this further time in oak the wine is then racked to tank and given a gentle filtration on its way to bottle.