95 Points | San Diego International Wine & Spirits
91 Points | Wine Spectator
This medium to full-bodied Merlot showcases prominent aromas of black fruit and fresh baked toffee. The front-palate hints of sandalwood and marzipan, with teases of black licorice candy at the back of the tongue. A rich, round body of summer brambleberry and dark chocolate work alongside beautifully refined tannins to create a long, indulgent finish.
We began our 2019 harvest before dawn on August 30. After a growing season that started in winter with record rainfall, the year ended with warm, even temperatures throughout summer. With few spikes in heat over the period, our vineyards had optimal conditions to develop full-flavored fruit with remarkable color and balanced acidity. Spring rains ended in time for good fruit set. The temperate summer allowed for long hang times and consistent, even ripening. We picked the majority of our fruit in September and the weather continued to cooperate. Warm breezy days, but fortunately no rain took place in October and the last of the grapes were harvested before the end of the month.
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, 40% new. The wine is kept in barrel for 15 months before final blending.