This elegant representation of Sonoma Valley Merlot breaths to life with dark plum, roasted apple and freshly baked bread. The earthy structure is toned by delicate vanilla notes countered by accents of cinnamon and clove. The vines were still young in this vintage, giving the body a lively “pop” of juiciness. A velvety finish blankets the palate on the back end.
2018 provided an ideal climate allowing time for the grapes to ripen to their optimum flavor structure. The year presented a fairly mild growing season with few heat spikes, inspiring winemakers to push harvest back a few weeks. This longer time on the vine was great for grapes and the mild temperatures kept the fruit from over-ripening. More than an inch of rain fell in early October in many locations, but there was little impact on the quality of the fruit. 2018 could be remembered as one of the longest and most desirable seasons in years, producing exceptional quality grapes throughout Sonoma County.
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.
All grapes are gently de-stemmed before cold-soaking for two days to extract optimal color and flavor. The fruit is fermented in separate lots, allowing each lot to be individually and distinctly crafted before being aged in French oak barrels, 54% new. The wine is kept in barrel for 20 months before final blending.