Gold Medal | SF Chronicle Wine Competition | January 2017
Richly colored and deeply aromatic, this Merlot over-delivers with an abundance of dark-red fruit flavors and aromas of the baked cherry galette, pomegranate, currant, and mocha. Silky smooth and elegant with a long and lingering 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.
Our founder Joe Martin was the first grower to plant Merlot in Sonoma Valley when he came to this area in the 1970s. This picturesque valley is surrounded by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, providing perfect conditions for Merlot grapes. The Behler Vineyard, our first Estate Vineyard, is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley where warm summer days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in fruit with deep, complex flavors and aromas.
The grapes are hand-sorted and undergo a two-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. After primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is placed into French oak barrels where it undergoes malolactic fermentation and 20 months of aging in 40% new oak.