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Botham Merrill Willis 'The Farewell Offer'

As many of you know, Bob Willis passed away on 4th December, 2019. Apart from being one of our cricketing heroes, we also got to know this charismatic England fast bowler whilst promoting the ‘BMW’ wines around England. Over a ten-year period, whilst working with Bob, Ian Botham and Geoff Merrill, we got to know the three ‘amigos’ very well and had some wonderfully amusing moments, combining cricket and wine! The story of how this threesome got together has been told many times but suffice it to say that these were never meant to be ‘celebrity’ wines, having been selected from specific vineyard sites, especially made by Geoff Merrill and then blended to the specifications of the three protagonists. Apart from exhibiting the idiosyncratic nature of their individual terroirs, they are above all, a reflection of the characters of the three men.

Geoff Merrill’s reputation as a wine maker is incontestable having been involved in wine making with Seppelts, Chateau Reynella and the Mount Hurtle Winery.  Geoff has won numerous important trophies, including the Jimmy Watson and Dan Murphy Trophies. Ian Botham (now Lord Botham) is one of England’s greatest sportsmen, with his outstanding achievements as an all-rounder in test cricket. Over the past twenty years, Ian Botham has raised an astonishing sum of money for Leukaemia Research. He is also a passionate lover of wine and his knowledge of the subject is extensive. Bob Willis was one of England’s greatest post-war fast bowlers going on to take 325 test wickets. Until his sudden death, Bob was well known for his role as a Sky cricket commentator, with his sharp, dry sense of humour and laconic style. He was as equally knowledgeable about wine as his close friend, ‘Beefy’.

As Bob Willis is no longer with us, Geoff Merrill and Ian Botham have understandably decided to stop producing this special trio of wines. It is sadly the end of an era but we are delighted to have been able to ship a small quantity of all three varietals, which we are offering in a mixed six-bottle case.

Two bottles of each of the following for £105 - inclusive of delivery on the UK mainland.

The 2018 Chardonnay is a blend from Merrill’s Wickham Park vineyard in the McLaren Vale (86%) and from vineyards in the southern half of the Coonawarra strip (14%); it displays clear citrus and melon fruit characteristics. 15% was fermented and matured in new and one year old French hogsheads for nine months. This intelligent use of oak has added complexity but the underlying feel is freshness and stone fruit. 2018 was a terrific vintage in the McLaren Vale. 

The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon is also a bi-regional blend from Coonawarra (52%) and McLaren Vale (48%) and has very clearly defined Cabernet character with red berry and minty blackcurrant dominating. Soft, firm tannins give great support and structure whilst there is the tell tale Merrill acidity giving the wine lovely vigour. It saw just under two years in a mixture of American and French oak hogsheads.

The 2014 Shiraz, made from 100% McLaren Vale fruit, is wonderfully concentrated, with a silky texture and a dominant blackberry and damson fruit flavour, benefiting from a judicious amount of largely American oak. There are obvious vanilla, cedar and warm spice aromas to add to the overall package. Overall, an absolutely classic McLaren Vale Shiraz.

Find The Farewell Offer Mixed Case HERE