ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley

• COMPOSITION: 100% Merlot
• AGING: 17 months in 100% new French oak
• pH: 3.69
• TA: 6.6g / L
• ALCOHOL: 13.6%
• PRODUCTION: 136 six-packs


Vintage

In 2009, with cold weather persisting well into May, we had serious concerns about our Merlot ripening by harvest time. Fortunately, the cool spring quickly transitioned into a hot summer, with record-breaking heat in July and August. As the calendar turned to September, the grapes began the change from hard and green to juicy and purple. The thermometer showed low 80’s in the afternoons, letting the fruit fully ripen without overly stressing the vines. Harvest of our 2009 Block 3 Merlot took place on the 25th of September.


Winemaking

In 2009, we took a different approach to our wines and how we used new oak barrels. Previous vintages had the new barrels distributed across all the wines, similar to sprinkling salt and pepper over your entire dinner plate. With the ’09 vintage, once the wines were pressed off and racked 2-3 times, they were aged in either stainless steel tanks or older neutral barrels for a month or more. This early aging let the wines’ true character shine through and allowed us to make a much more strategic decision regarding our new oak barrels. One of the wines that showed immediate promise was our Block 3 Merlot. Sensing this wine was special, we devoted some of our finest French and American oak barrels to its maturation. Initial tastings were promising; but in the early spring of 2011 there were 6 barrels, all French oak, that stood head and shoulders over the pack. A quick blend in our lab was followed by tasting and conversation, and the concept for our first reserve Merlot was born. This exceptional wine was blended together and returned to barrel for an additional three months for the wine to harmonize prior to bottling on the 1st of June.


Winemaker Comments

You have not experienced Merlot until you have tasted this Merlot! Your first impression will be visual: a gorgeous, bright ruby color. This opulent wine gives rise to beautiful aromas of black cherry, plum, rose petal, cedar and caramel. The velvety mouth-feel promotes lush flavors of plum, black cherry and dark chocolate. The bold tannin structure embodies a long, decadent finish of dark chocolate, cinnamon and coffee. This food-friendly wine will pair with duck, lamb and sumptuous dark chocolate truffles. This just might be the wine to sip, savor and snuggle up to a fire with that special someone!