Shannon Vineyards is situated in the Elgin Valley within the Kogelberg Biosphere with mountains on their western boundary and the Palmiet River forming the eastern boundary.
The Elgin Valley, which has long been regarded as the apple and pear centre of South Africa, now has some of the country’s most highly regarded winemakers establishing vineyards in the area – testament to its obvious winemaking potential. Visiting this picturesque area is a worthwhile drive; it is less than an hour from Cape Town.
I love the history of names and the name “Shannon” pays homage to the family’s Irish ancestry. Their forefathers – the Shannon and Downes families – were from County Cork, Ireland.
On the other side, the James family were wine merchants and former owners of the White Horse Pub (1882) in Parsons Green, the City Arms (in the City of London), the Rising Sun (Battersea) and the Marlborough (Chelsea). It all seems to have come together rather nicely.
The team at Shannon cares for the environment and as a member of the Biodiversity Wine Initiative has maintained the undisturbed virgin soil in eight meter wide corridors of natural fynbos (native Cape flora) between the vineyards, providing the indigenous animals with territorial access from the river banks to the mountainside.
When I think “Shannon” I think Merlot and they have recently released the new vintage of their icon Merlot: the Shannon Vineyards Mount Bullet 2011. Ever since the release of the maiden 2007 Mount Bullet Merlot, Shannon Vineyards have turned heads both locally and internationally, garnering widespread acclaim for this stellar red wine which has shown itself to be the most highly rated Merlot in South Africa and one of the country’s finest red wines.
This stellar and immensely attractive merlot displays fragrant ripe red fruit on the nose, especially plums and dark cherries. The palate exhibits an earthy complexity with minerality, but still with an excellent expression of ripe fruit, freshness and a seductive tannin structure. The wine is round and full, silky and elegant, with a long finish. It can be enjoyed now or until 2018.
Approximate retail price: R285
Visit www.shannonwines.com for more information.