Do you like diamonds? Have you heard of wine diamonds? They are actually tartrate crystals that have precipitated out of a wine when the wine was exposed to cold temperatures. You typically find these wine diamonds on the bottom of the wine cork, which is what I saw when I opened a bottle of Poplar Grove Winery Merlot 2016. This is the second wine over the last two months that I’ve tasted that have these crystals. Don’t worry, they are not harmful. The other wine that had the crystals, although not to the same degree was my bottle of Kanonkop Kadette Pinotage 2018.
My Wine Tasting Notes
Poplar Grove Winery Merlot 2016
This Merlot is actually a blend of 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker notes about the production of this wine: “Berries were hand-picked and sorted prior to crushing, then cold-soaked for four days. Alcoholic fermentation at controlled temperatures in stainless steel tanks, breaking and soaking the cap through twice daily pump-overs. Long post-alcoholic maceration of the submerged caps for a further 14 days before pressing into barrels. Spontaneous malolactic fermentation occurred in barrel over the winter & finished in the spring of 2017. 21 months aging in 25% new oak. The remainder was aged in a combination of 1 to 3-year-old French oak barriques and bottle aged for one year.”
Appearance: A deeper garnet colour that has a touch of bricking at the edge. About 85% opaque.
Nose: A medium intensity nose with rich ripe deep aromas covering cassis, black cherries, leather, dark chocolate, plus touches of oak and vanilla. The aromas stay the same with decanting, but you can now add a touch of capsicum.
Palate: Dry with a lighter, lean mouthfeel, but becomes a bit rounder and fuller with some swirling in your glass. Fine lighter intensity tannins. Medium-plus intensity flavours of plums, blueberries, blackberries, black cherries, dark chocolate and oak on the palate, plus sweet spices become more evident as the wine opens up in your glass. The wine is rounder and smoother with decanting, plus the oak is a bit stronger. I get the same fruit flavours, dark chocolate and sweet spice flavours.
Finish: A medium length finishing with black cherries, and touches of capsicum, leather, pepperiness, cedar and oak flavours. Light tannins. The capsicum and cedar flavours are not evident with decanting, and you now get chocolate to complement the other mentioned flavours.
This wine does not need a long decant, maybe just pour the wine in glasses 30 minutes before you sit down to enjoy your dinner. The winery notes recommend drinking this wine before 2029 and I agree.
Rating: A wine in its middle age showing some bricking on the rim of the wine. It has ripe deep aromas of cassis, black cherries, leather and oak. Medium-bodied, dry with light tannins. The wine gets rounder and smoother with air. Plums, blueberries, dark fruits, black cherries, dark chocolate, vanilla and oak on the palate.
Where Can I Buy This Wine?
The 2016 vintage is no longer available in the 750ml format, but if you would like to buy a magnum (1.5 litre), this is available at the Poplar Grove Winery website for $86.87. They do have the 2018 vintage of this wine available as well in 750ml bottle. Marquis Wine Cellars also has the 2018 and 2017 vintages of this wine.