17 months in French and American oak barrels (20% new)
Food Pairing Notes
The rounded textures and complex flavors of the 2020 Merlot pair well with rack of lamb, herbed roast beef, mushroom risotto, and Merlot-braised pork chops.
The 2020 vintage comes from three blocks at Margarita Vineyard that exhibit their
own distinct qualities, bringing added dimension to the finished wine. These blocks are situated along the slopes of an uplifted ancient sea bed, which provides the type of highly calcareous soils that are coveted by winemakers worldwide. Block 15 is a newer planting that delivers dark, velvety black fruit flavors. Meanwhile, Block 5 yields a more nuanced character with both softness and power. Finally, Block 4 presents a brighter spectrum of red fruit flavors. 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 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 cooler climate nuances and structure inherent to Margarita Vineyard. The 2020 growing season was marked by a mild spring and summer, punctuated by two late- summer heat waves that accelerated the pace of ripening into harvest. After harvesting and destemming, each lot was 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 17 months in a combination of French (65%) and American (35%) oak barrels, 20 percent of which featured new oak. Small lots of Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel were incorporated into the final blend for added complexity and mouthfeel.