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Classic Tier Reserve Tier Limited Release Wines

Merlot, Sonoma/Napa County

  This Merlot comes primarily from the cooler portions of Sonoma and Napa Valleys. The cooler temperatures allow for more “hang time” which produces more intense flavors and better tannic structure. The vineyards required some careful morning side leaf removal and irrigation management to insure enough “hang time” to get even and complete berry ripening. Too few leaves on the vine do not generate enough energy for world-class flavors and the berries may become sun burned; too many leaves and the berries end up shaded and not as fruity. The temperate application of irrigation water maintained a healthy canopy of leaves that survived the couple of heat spells we had. Extensive field testing and tasting determined the optimal day to pick.

Following hand-harvesting, the grapes were de-stemmed only (whole berries). Fermentations were conducted in a combination of open-top vessels with a punchdown device and closed tanks with gentle cap irrigators. Several types of yeast were used for both inoculated and uninoculated fermenting. Most lots were pressed directly to barrel, and malolactic fermentations finished in barrel. After one year, the wines were racked and returned to barrel for an additional year of aging.

Tasting Notes
Brimming with raspberry, cherry and boysenberry. This satin soft wine has layers of clove, anise, vanilla and milk chocolate serving as delicious counterpoints to the pervasive berry fruit. Supple mature tannins and a fruitenlivening acid balance guarantee this wine will please for years to come.

7,515 cases produced
Alcohol content, 13.9% by volume

Wine Enthusiast

"Has the prettiest bouquet of red cherries and smoke, with hints of bacon, thyme, mint and white chocolate. Equally complex on the palate, with the most generous texture. Pure velvet." Editor's Choice.

Houston Chronicle

"What merlot should be – a generous dollop of fruit, but fruit with body, not some wimped-out, washed-out red wine..." 4 ½ stars.

California Grapevine

"Highly recommended...attractive, forward, toasty, spicy, green olive and sweet cherry fruit aroma; medium-full body; rich, moderately concentrated herbal, cherry and berry fruit flavors; medium-full tannin; slightly dry and tarrish on the finish; lingering aftertaste."

Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California

"Wine of the Week. Rich and ripe without being over-ripe. A vibrant texture, with aromas and flavors of red currant, cherry cola, dusty cedar and sweet wood. Polished." 4 ½ stars.

Wine Spectator

"Focused on tasty red cherry, black berry and plum, turning spicy and cedary, with firm tannins." James Laube's Smart Buys in California Merlot.

Restaurant Wine

"A complex, concentrated Merlot, with layers of new oak character. It is full bodied, moderately rich, and quite woody, which shows through on the finish."

Quarterly Review of Wines

"California Best of the Best. Good deep color; brooding black-fruit and toasted-oak nose; lush, concentrated, blackberry, coffee and nutty-oak-vanillin flavors; soft, elegant finish." Excellent.

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