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The Liberator Episode 24. Four and Twenty Blackbirds 2009

13% abv

Rick has a very soft spot for blackbirds. Even from having this nursery rhyme recited to him as a child, he always managed to convince himself that the said ‘blackbirds’ were, in fact, crows or rooks, which are still considered vermin by some today, and shot for the pot.

It happens to be one of those bizarre Liberator coincidences that Episode 24 should coincide with the title. Allow Rick to explain….

Merlau in Occitan or Le Merle noir is French for blackbird.

Merlau… (Merlot) makes a black and excellent wine and is productive in a good soil.

The modern spelling first appeared in 1824 in a thesis on Médoc wines, whilst the reference work La Vigne en Bordelais (published in 1868) cites two examples of the origin of the name. Merlau means ‘little blackbird’ in Bordeaux patois, and it is the Merlot grape that the bird guzzles first. The colour of the feathers also resembles that of the berries.

Featured discretely on the label is the original score for Le Merle noir, a chamber work by the French composer, Olivier Messiaen. A short piece for flute and piano, it was written and first performed in 1952. Apparently, Messiaen had a consuming and lifelong interest in ornithology, just like Rick…

Interviewed on Radio 2 in 1996, Kate Bush was asked who her favourite singer was. She answered ‘The blackbird…’ You’ll find the cover of her 2005 album, Ariel, features a waveform of blackbird song.

In contrast, Sing a Song of Sixpence was apparently a coded message used by the legendary pirate captain, Blackbeard as a cry for new recruits. Sixpence and a flask of rye whisky were a pirate’s weekly wage. The ‘blackbirds’ were his pirates and the ship was the ‘pie’…

£19.00inclusive of Duty and VAT

Good stock

Some say that The Liberator conjures up images of a disguised, cloaked superhero, charging around the Winelands rescuing bottles in distress. But this is no Superman. He’s just plain Rick; a Cape crusader perhaps, but one where cloaks are exchanged for a rather tatty Harris Tweed jacket and any superhuman powers are substituted by a supposedly blessed palate.
On his regular jaunts around the Cape, Rick is confounded by the number of great wines that are resigned to a tragic fate of being blended away or disposed of in bulk. It might be an occasional experimental batch, or possibly an interesting off-cut from some proud winemaker’s latest premium release. Whatever their provenance, it’s his mission as The Liberator to procure these precious vinous orphans and consign them to a better home.

Inevitably, each wine discovered by The Liberator comes with its own story; a tale of its untimely existence. You’ll find that every release has its testimony recounted, in bottle and on screen, as a unique and evocative Episode.

Reference #:
13 ABV
Bottles per Case
6 bottles

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