Of all the Hickinbotham Wines, this Merlot is probably the least naturally convincing. Still quality Merlot, just that its brothers are exceptional.
The winemaking, as ever, is a-grade. Wild fermented. 21 days on skins. 15 months in 50% new oak. The whole gamut. Interestingly, it includes 4% Petit Verdot which might be for structure? Like all the Hickinbotham wines this has a lovely coiffed texture, the high-quality oak a constant presence, folding into the ripe, almost fruit cake palate. Lavish oak is perhaps too much, but that palate plushness makes it pretty seductive stuff. Oak tannins to finish are a slight distraction too. Hmm. There’s an undoubted quality here, which is where I ultimately lie.
Best drinking: wait two or three years and then drink over fifteen. 17.7/20, 92/100. 14.5%, $75. Hickinbotham of Clarendon website. Would I buy it? Give me the Cabernet, Franc or Shiraz instead.