Regions > South Australia > Adelaide Super Zone > Fleurieu Zone > McLaren Vale Region

: Geoff Merrill Wines


Geoff Merrill Wines

291 Pimpala Rd, Woodcroft, 5162

Cellar Door: Weekdays (10-5); Weekends (12-5)

Ph: (08) 8381 6877

One of the handful of wineries still operating in the northern suburban end of the region.

Geoff Merrill was raised on a sheep station in the far north of South Australia and in the Barossa Valley where Geoff's first links with the wine industry were formed. From 1970 to 1973 Geoff undertook a winemaking traineeship at B Seppelt & Son.

A position as Experimental Winemaker with Stellenbosch Farmers Winery lured him to South Africa for a year in 1974, after which he travelled through Europe. By the end of 1975 Geoff was back in Australia and had joined Chateau Reynella as Assistant Winemaker.

In 1977 he was promoted to Senior Winemaker, a position he held until 1985. Whilst working a Chateau Reynella Geoff also managed to find the time to make wines under his own "Geoff Merrill" label. These wines were first released in 1983 with the 1980 Cabernet and 1981 Semillon.

When Thomas Hardy & Sons purchased Chateau Reynella in 1982 Geoff stayed on, continuing to make the Chateau Reynella wines. By 1985 he had become a consultant winemaker for Hardys and Chateau Reynella's red wines.

At the same time he was on the lookout for a winery where he could base his own operations. He found the beautiful, but run-down Tuscan style Mount Hurtle Winery (established back in 1897) in 1985, which he restored and by 1988 Geoff had left Hardy's to run his own operation.

Geoff Merrill Wines has vineyards in three of Australia's classic viticultural regions: the Pimpala vineyard (McLaren Vale), the Graymoor vineyard (Coonawarra) and the Pogue vineyard (Goulburn Valley, Vic).

The estate and premium ranges include: Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, a Shiraz/Grenache/Mourvedre blend, Cab Merlot, Sangiovese, a Grenache Rose with the Henley Shiraz being the super-premium. The more tannic reds tend to be held back for several years before release, a luxury few other wineries can afford but appreciated by us consumers.

There is also a second retail chain Mount Hurtle range that is sold exclusively through Vintage Cellars and Liqourland.

Tasting Notes

There are three types of Tasting notes:

(W) Notes from the winery (blurbs from bottle)

(GXY) Notes from a GenXY wine reviewer

(G) Notes from GenXY's Tasting events (collective opinions)

Geoff Merrill Shiraz Grenache Mourvdere 2012

Purchased: Not ($25)

Drink: 2022

(GXY) Tasting: Feb 2017 fleshy and juicy blend of 45% Shiraz, 45% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, aromatic and supple black cherry, plum and blackcurrant with iodine and brown spice notes, some rose petal florals, earthy and medium bodied with restrained cedar/dark chocolate oak (****)

Geoff Merrill Wickham Park Sangiovese 2006

Purchased: Cellarbrations, St. Kilda ($23)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: May 2013, rather delayed release which is a good thing given the firmness of the tannins, mellowing, dry, dark plums and leather with a sliver of vibrant black cherry sweetness and spice, wrapped up in drying, savoury tannins, there is also some charry vanilla oak and good acid, main question for me in terms of longer cellaring is whether the fruit fleshiness will last as long as the tannins (***1/2)

Geoff Merrill Jacko’s Blend Shiraz 2005

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, ripe, oaky style showing blackberry, dark plum and mulberry, earthy and medium-full bodied with plenty of coffee, chocolate and a touch of almond from the 27 months in American oak, fine savoury tannins (***1/2)

Geoff Merrill Sangiovese 2004

Purchased: Not

Drink: 2014

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, rather big and bold for the variety, black cherry and plum with fruitcake, anise and tobacco notes, meaty and medium-full bodied, attractive dried herb nuances, firm savoury tannins, plenty of coffee-cedar from the 24 months in American oak (***1/2)

Geoff Merrill Grenache Rose 2008

Purchased: Not ($19)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, rose petal pink colour, gentle array of strawberry, raspberry and red cherry fruits with subtle violet and anise nuances, off-dry with a crisp finish (***)

Geoff Merrill Merlot 2005

Purchased: Not ($24)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, medium bodied cassis, mulberry and dark plum with black olive and white pepper notes, earthy with plenty of coffee,/cedar and a dash of dark chocolate from the slightly charry American oak (***)

Geoff Merrill Sauvignon Blanc 2008

Purchased: Not ($18)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: Mar 2009, fairly intense showing cut grass, tropical fruit and lime with some spicy capsicum and herbaceous aspects to the crisp finish, rather phenolic (***)

Geoff Merrill Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre 2005

Purchased: Cellarbrations, St. Kilda ($19)

Drink: 2011

(GXY) Tasting: July 2008, 56% Shiraz, 32% Grenache and 10% Mourvedre, juicy, spicy and medium bodied Southern Rhone blend, the red fruited Grenache is quite opulent for the region but avoids getting too confectionary, earthy with some leather and plum pudding notes, restrained oak support, attractive mouth feel, needs a bit more fruit depth to go the next level (****)

Geoff Merrill Pimpala Cabernet Merlot 2000

Purchased: Not ($30)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: March 2007, the 60% cabernet is from a rare Reynella old clone from the estate vineyard, quite deep and intense blackcurrant, smooth dark plum and mint, spicy and savoury palate with familiar regional lushness with mocha-chocolate from 26 months on French and American, fine grained tannins (****)

Geoff Merrill McLaren Vale Chardonnay 2004

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: March 2007, 15% Coonawarra fruit added, flavoursome honey and melon aromas,palate also shows lemon and smoky bacon features, crisp malo-free palate, toasty vanilla oak (***1/2)

Geoff Merrill Shiraz Grenache Mourvedre 2003

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2010

(GXY) Tasting: March 2007, Shiraz 45%, Grenache 45%, Mourvedre 10%, sweet raspberry kept in check with the spicy plum, medium bodied with liquorice and chocolate features, firm tannins, cedary oak with red fruit and menthol notes on the finish (***1/2)

Geoff Merrill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2003

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: March 2007, fairly rich cassis and black cherry aromas with vanilla and coffee notes, spicy palate is medium-full bodied, the winemaker comments that it is not as intense as usual due to the drought vintage, mocha-chocolate oak (***1/2)

Geoff Merrill Shiraz 2003

Purchased: Not ($20)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Tasting: March 2007, boysenberry and plummy Christmas cake features with light spices, sweet and jammy palate lacking in genuine depth, lashings of chocolate and vanilla oak features to compensate for the drought affected fruit (***)

Geoff Merrill Grenache Rose 2006

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: March 2007, black cherry and raspberry, quite dry with savoury and spice features, zesty acid finish (***)

Geoff Merrill Sauvignon Blanc 2006

Purchased: Not ($15)

Drink: 2007

(GXY) Tasting: March 2007, medium intense style with array of cut grass, passionfruit, lime and lychee flavours, quite dry despite the fruit bowl with crisp acid finish (***)

Geoff Merrill McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon 2001

Purchased: ($10 –cellar door discount)

Drink: 2009

(GXY) Not Reviewed Yet