96% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec, & 1% Cabernet Franc
Deep garnet with a ruby edge, our 2011 Sonoma County Merlot is spicy, elegant, and versatile with layer after luscious layer of red and black fruit playing off of each other. We’re happy with the wine’s structure and its wonderfully balanced acidity. The nose is a treasure trove of dark baking spices including clove and nutmeg, and it also offers earthy hints of black pepper, cedar, bay laurel, and sweet vanilla notes delightfully framing bright fruit aromas of blackberry, red cherry, and plum. Plum follows through on the palate, along with black cherry and rich blackberry preserves lightly lifted by toast and vanilla notes. This medium-boded wine finishes with soft yet insistent cocoa tannins.
Greatness often shows itself from the very beginning, and that’s true for the Alexander Valley which first achieved fame for its red wines in the 1860s. Today the Alexander Valley remains focused on reds, in particular Bordeaux varieties such as Merlot. Most of the fruit for this wine, rich with blackberry and plum, comes from the Alexander Valley including grapes from our Red Fan and Los Amigos estate vineyards. We harvested another seven percent of the fruit from our Goldfields estate vineyard which exhibits the red cherry and light spice of the cooler and foggier Russian River Valley, with the remaining fruit coming from the warmer, sunnier Sonoma Valley known for its depth, richness, and light licorice spice.
We fermented our 2011 Sonoma County Merlot in stainless steel, with daily pump-overs to increase color and flavor extraction. For the same reason, we left the juice on the skins for a generous 25 days to allow rich flavors and dense color to develop. All of the wine then underwent a secondary, malolactic fermentation before being aged for 14 months in a combination of small French and American oak barrels of which 24% were new. We blended this Merlot with small amounts of three other red Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon (2%), Malbec (1%), and Cabernet Franc (1%).
We think you’d enjoy this Merlot with rosemary duck with creamy polenta, roasted venison with plum chutney, and mushroom and hazelnut wild rice pilaf.