ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• COMPOSITION: 93.5% Merlot, 6.5% Cabernet Sauvignon
• pH: 3.66
• TA: 0.51%
• ALCOHOL: 13.7%
• PRODUCTION: 3,805 cases (750ml)
Unusual conditions during the growing season led to exceptional quality grapes for us in 1999. Although a very cool spring and summer were threatening the grapes, September abruptly turned sunny and hot. This slower ripening cycle allowed our reds to gain tremendous flavor intensity while retaining a full structure. Merlot was harvested in the second week of October.
Right after picking, we crushed our grapes into stainless steel tanks where different yeasts were added for primary fermentation. We began pump over when the juice reached 75 deg. to take advantage of the remarkable extraction opportunities achieved when the wine is warmer. The whole fermentation process took three weeks with an additional four days for post fermentative maceration. Then we racked the wine into barrels and kept the barrels in a cold and humid cellar. We used 65% American Oak which offers toasty taste and spicy aroma in conjunction with French Oak which gives the elegance and softness desired.
The Merlot shows a good red brick color and lots of cherry plum and herb aromas. There is an attractive blackberry flavor with hints of chocolate, vanilla and coffee. The long finish features a balanced structure and full body with a spicy note that will make this one a memorable taste experience.