94 Points | Wine Spectator | October 2022
This wine’s deep, concentrated color hints at the rich aromas and flavors to come: dark Bing cherry, red licorice, plum preserves and a touch of dried lavender lead to a bright, juicy mid-palate. Balanced and vibrant with good acidity, polished tannins and a long, quenching finish.
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.
This wine shows off the rich and flavorful fruit grown in Sonoma Valley. This valley is surrounded by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, providing perfect conditions for Merlot grapes. Warm summer days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in fruit with complex flavors and aromas. For this Reserve wine we source fruit from three vineyards: our Behler Estate Vineyard for expressive flavor and balanced acidity, the Dinner Vineyard high atop Sonoma Mountain for structure and our Wild Oak Estate Vineyard on the valley floor for softer flavors and texture.
After hand-sorting, the grapes underwent a two-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. The wine was then aged in 100% French oak barrels, 42% new, where it underwent malolactic fermentation, followed by 20 months of aging.