ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon
• pH: 3.69
• TA: 0.59%
• ALCOHOL: 13.4%
• PRODUCTION: 2900 Cases (750ml)


Vintage

Weather conditions for the season were near ideal with total heat units slightly above average accompanied by a long, mild fall. Some early rainfall did occur in September but the weather returned to a warm pattern that is ideal for grape maturation. As a consequence, 1997 is considered one of the better recent vintages in terms of varietal color, extraction, and flavors. We harvested the Merlot grapes from our estate vineyard during the second week of September.


Winemaking

Shortly after picking, our grapes were crushed into stainless steel tanks and yeasts were added for alcoholic fermentation. Following a short maceration and fermentation of five to seven days, the must was pressed and the wine racked into oak barrels for a 13-month aging period. The oak used was one-third French and two-thirds American.


Winemaker Comments

Our 1997 Merlot is definitely powerful. A dark ruby color highlighted by purple introduces gorgeous blackberry fruit aromas broadened by spice, vanilla, and tobacco. The focused, generously textured mouthfeel has great depth and layered tannins through the finish with concentrated flavors of blackberry, red currant, vanilla and chocolate. This wine is very drinkable now but has great potential for further development over the next 4-5 years.