2015 Reserve Merlot 750mL
Vineyard: Our 2015 Reserve Merlot was grown at the Hanna Red Ranch in Alexander Valley. The Red Ranch is planted to 50 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, 10 acres of Malbec and two-and-a-half acres each of Petit Verdot and Merlot. The Merlot on this ranch was planted in 1990 to clone 3 on 110R rootstock. The Cabernet is planted to clones 2, 6, 7, 412 and 685, and the Malbec to clone 9. Careful readers will note inclusion of the rare Saint Macaire variety this year – planted in 2011.
Vintage 2015: The 2015 growing season was once again dry and odd. Late winter and early spring were hot. Late spring was cool and fruit set was poor. The peak summer months were moderate, resulting in steady ripening and good acid retention. Late summer heat pushed sugar accumulation because of the small crop. We harvested our Alexander Valley Merlot on September 28 at 26.5 degrees Brix.
Winemaking: We hand-harvested in the cool hours from midnight to sunrise. The grapes were sorted, destemmed and partially crushed to stainless steel fermentation tanks. Pressing was done “to taste”, based on daily tastings of the wines after pumpover. The newly pressed wines were racked to tank and allowed to settle before barreling. The initial blend was assembled in the winter of 2016 and fine-tuned in the spring of 2017. The Reserve Merlot was aged in 60 gallon French and Hungarian oak barrels for 20 months.
Reserve Status: We regularly taste through our lots of Alexander Valley Bordeaux reds—Cab, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot. Exceptional lots and barrels are designated as potential blending components for our Reserve wines. Criteria are intensity of fruit, complexity, suppleness, color and potential for longevity.
Tasting Notes: Medium deep purple garnet in color, it displays aromas of cedar box, black cherry, blackberry with background notes of jalapeno jelly and spearmint. By mouth there are flavors of blackberry jam, vanilla, and chocolate dipped cherries. Texturally it is seamless, low tannin and beautifully viscous and long and it finishes with a burst of red and black fruit. (Tasted 8/22/18)
Variety: 75% Merlot,1.5 % Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Malbec, 1.5% Saint Macaire, 1.0% Petite Verdot
Age of Vines: Six to 26 years
Titratable Acidity (TA) 0.46 g/100 mL
Residual Sugar: 0.25%
Avg. Brix at Harvest: 26.5o
Length/Type of Aging: 26 months in 60-gallon French and Hungarian Oak barrels