ESTATE GROWN — Columbia Valley
• COMPOSITION: 87% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Syrah
• pH: 3.63
• TA: 0.56%
• ALCOHOL: 13.7%
• PRODUCTION: 3,189 cases (750ml)
Exceptional conditions during the 1998 growing season led to a very successful vintage. A warm, dry summer, combined with a series of heat spikes, and a mild and dry fall allowed our vines to thrive and produce grapes of outstanding quality. Lower yields and smaller berries resulted in early ripeness and an unusual fruit concentration. We harvested the Merlot from our estate vineyard during the second and third weeks of September.
Shortly after picking, our grapes were crushed into stainless steel tanks and yeasts were added for alcoholic fermentation. We used a different yeast for each Merlot tank in order to enhance complexity on the finished wine. Following a short maceration and fermentation of seven to ten days, the must was pressed and the wine racked into oak barrels for a 13-month aging period. We used two-thirds American Oak and one-third French Oak. The use of French Oak enhances the elegance of the wine, while American oak adds a desired spicy note.
This deeply colored wine show attractive aromas of wild cherry, black currant, and blackberry. In the mouth the wine features a pleasant structure with rich tannins in the front, followed by a full body. Concentrated dark fruits, chocolate, and spicy oak persist well through the finish. Drink now or later, as this wine has the stuff to keep well.