The Liberator, Four and Twenty Blackbirds Merlot 2009

£19.99 GBP

Imagine what treasures lie tucked away in forgotten corners and neglected barrels in the world’s wine cellars. Not every winemaker appreciates the gems in their care, whether due to house style, personal preference or pure caution. In South Africa, one man has taken on the challenge of liberating these criminally overlooked wines, hence the name on the label.

Rick Kelley MW is the liberator in question, and every one of the exclusive, small-batch wines he releases has its own unique story to tell. This gorgeously mature Merlot reflects Rick’s lifelong obsession with blackbirds. Sounds random? Maybe less so when you know that the word ‘Merlot’ derives from Bordelais patois meaning little blackbird. 

The wine itself has aged gracefully over its decade in bottle. The nose shows cocoa, spice and savoury notes. The palate treads a very interesting line between layered plum/blueberry fruit and mature meaty flavours. The tannins are soft, supple and sophisticated. If this were from Bordeaux you’d easily pay double the price for it.