ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon
• AGING: 18 months in French Oak
• pH: 3.6
• TA: 0.68g / 100 mL
• ALCOHOL: 13.7%
• BOTTLED: January 2005
• PRODUCTION: 2,531 cases


Vintage

2002 started with a mild and short winter, resulting in no vine damage. Ideal spring weather led to an early bud break and complete flowering. The absence of rain made for a beautiful fruit set. Summer temperatures were above average and rainfall was below average, resulting in very complete ripening. September was warmer than average. This short blast of heat made for great structure, complex flavors, and ripeness in the Merlot grapes.


Winemaking

The 2002 Estate Grown Merlot was harvested at 25 brix and gently crushed into stainless steel fermenters. The skins and juice were allowed to “cold soak” for a number of days prior to the addition of cultured yeast. This process creates darker colors and enhances the ripeness of flavors. After fermentation was completed, the finished wine was drawn off and the skins were pressed. 100% of the vintage was aged in small oak barrels, the majority being from French forests, for 18 months. Gentle racking of the barrels allowed for the removal of solids without filtration. After aging, a small amount of Gordon Brothers Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon was blended into the 2002 Merlot to add character.


Winemaker Comments

This bright, ruby red Merlot is packed with plenty of sweet oak, cassis and ripe cherry in the nose, and is rounded out by a touch of spice. The 2002 Merlot has a sweet, candied fruit entry and moderate tannins offering luscious mouthfeel over layers of red fruit. This is an elegant, yet big Merlot that will age well. Serve this wine with Beef Bolognese or even gourmet pizza.