20 months in French and American oak barrels
Food Pairing Notes
The full-bodied character of the 2017 Merlot is a fine match for rich, flavorful fare.
Recommended pairings include beef tenderloin, pasta with lamb ragu, mushroom risotto
and red wine-braised brisket.
The 2017 Merlot opens with dusty aromas of boysenberry, black cherry, vanilla and toasted
oak. A soft, rounded texture delivers mouthfilling flavors of blueberry, blackberry, cinnamon,
dark chocolate and cola. Velvety tannins are finely integrated into a rich, chewy finish.
We blend fruit from multiple Merlot blocks that exhibit a range of distinct qualities, bringing
added natural complexity and dimension to the finished wine. These blocks are situated
along the slopes of an uplifted ancient sea bed, where the well-drained, calcium-rich soils
are distinguished by decomposing oyster fossils. Block 15 is a new planting that delivers
dark, velvety black fruit flavors. Block 7 yields deep, intensely flavored fruit with both
softness and power, while Block 5 offers a blend of black and red fruit characteristics.
Margarita Vineyard stands alone as the southernmost vineyard in the Paso Robles region,
nestled into the rugged Santa Lucia Mountain range just 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean
in the new Santa Margarita Ranch AVA. The mountain peaks act as a gateway for cool
marine air, resulting in an extended growing season that yields fruit with uncommon depth
and structure. The peaks are also testaments to the tectonic forces that created Margarita
Vineyard’s rare diversity of soils, ultimately fostering natural complexity in our wines.
Our aim is to capture the signature velvety fruit character of Merlot while showcasing the
fine structure inherent to Margarita Vineyard. The 2017 growing season was excellent for
Merlot at Margarita Vineyard, with steady harvest weather that delivered rich, balanced
fruit. After destemming, the lots were cold soaked for 48 hours prior to fermentation for a
gentle extraction of initial color and flavor. After fermentation and light pressing, the lots
were aged for 20 months in a combination of French (60%) and American (40%) oak
barrels, 25 percent of which featured new oak. A small lot of Zinfandel from Margarita
Vineyard was incorporated into the final blend to amplify mid-palate fruitiness.