Geoff Merrill Wickham Park Chardonnay 2016
The aroma is clean and delicate, displaying fig, nectarine, lime and a hint of cucumber skin and meadow hay. The palate begins with a ripe citrus flavour, moving through to stone fruit and a touch of lantana. The mouthfeel contains a fine mineral structure reminiscent of European versions. Match with shellfish, oily fish and crustaceans, and rich white meat dishes
Young Geoff Merrill was raised on a sheep station in the far north of South Australia, until his family moved to the Barossa Valley in 1964 when Geoff was just 11 years old. Unsurprisingly, this is where Geoff’s links with the wine industry were first forged.
At age 17, Geoff joined B Seppelt & Son where he embarked on a 4 year winemaking traineeship. Following this, he was lured to South Africa in 1974 with the opportunity to work as an Experimental Winemaker with Stellenbosch Farmers Winery, after which he set off to explore Europe.
Returning to Australia in late 1975, Geoff joined Chateau Reynella as Assistant Winemaker and was promoted to Senior Winemaker just 2 years later. He held this position until 1985 when he became a Consultant Winemaker for Thomas Hardy & Sons, who bought Chateau Reynella in 1982.
While working at Chateau Reynella, Geoff began to make wines under his own “Geoff Merrill” label; his first release in 1983 included a 1980 Cabernet and 1981 Semillon. With a view to establishing his own operation, Geoff purchased the beautiful, but run-down Mount Hurtle Winery in 1985 and, after restoring the property to its full potential, Geoff left Hardy’s in 1988 to embark on his own venture.
Geoff’s signature style eventually took his winemaking career to the international stage when, in 1993, he accepted a Consultant Winemaker position in Italy for UK supermarket Sainsbury, and Gruppo Italian Vini in Italy. Geoff continues to gain national and international recognition for his distinctive style of winemaking and zest for life.