93 Points | The Wine Advocate | April 2017
This rich and compelling blend shows off the deep color and layered aromas of dark chocolate, ripe strawberry, cherry cola, and a hint of cassis. Balanced and full-bodied, the wine offers flavors of cherry compote, licorice, and vanilla that merge with a lush mouthfeel and long finish.
Warm sunny days throughout the spring and summer months set the stage for a spectacular harvest in September 2014. The lack of rain meant that harvest began a little earlier than normal and was short in length, finishing up by the end of October. The temperate days leading up to harvest produced good yields of high-quality fruit with concentrated flavors, complex aromatics, and excellent structure.
For the 2014 vintage of this Meritage blend, Winemaker Chris Louton chose fruit from our Certified Sustainable Estate Vineyards: Cabernet Sauvignon from our Lagomarsino Vineyard in Russian River Valley and Malbec from our Wild Oak Vineyard in Sonoma Valley. To add complexity, a small percentage of Petit Verdot from the Rockpile region north of Healdsburg was also included.
Meritage wines are luxurious wines crafted solely from specific noble Bordeaux grape varietals. The name combines “merit,” reflecting the quality of the grapes, with “heritage,” recognizing the centuries-old tradition of blending, long considered the highest form of the winemaker’s art. All grapes are gently de-stemmed before cold-soaking for two days to extract optimal color and aroma. The fruit is fermented in separate lots, allowing each to be individually and distinctly crafted before being aged in French oak barrels. The wines are kept 20 months in barrel, before final blending and bottling.