91 Pts | Wine Enthusiast | August 2023
91 Pts | San Diego International Wine Competition | February 2023
Gold | San Diego International Wine Competition | February 2023
Gold | San Francisco Chronicle Competition | January 2023
Merlot’s intense aromatics are captured here with cherry compote, black licorice and dark chocolate on the nose before layers of rich fruit flavors of ripe plum, dried fig and bright Ranier cherry emerge. The finish is long and vibrant with baking spices and a hint of cocoa powder.
The 2019 harvest began before dawn on August 30 after a growing season that started with record rainfall during winter and ended with warm, even temperatures. With few heat spikes, 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 and 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 through the end of harvest in October.
The grapes in our Sonoma County Merlot come from our Certified Sustainable Estate Behler and Wild Oak Vineyards as well as from top growers throughout the region. Merlot thrives in Sonoma’s picturesque valleys where warm days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean. Each carefully selected vineyard contributes distinctive and individual qualities to the finished wine. This Anniversary Edition celebrates the planting of Merlot in 1971 at the Behler Vineyard and the first bottling in 1979.
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 for 16 months in French oak barrels, 25% new, before final blending and bottling.