10/26/2016

#MerlotMe: Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot

Hello Friends,

Today’s pick is another fine bottle of wine I opened in celebration of ‘International Merlot Month.’ This wine hails from the Rogue Valley appellation in southern Oregon. The Rogue Valley is the southern-most of the state’s viticultural areas. It is generally warmer and drier, and much less defined in terms of principal grape varieties than the state’s highly regarded and well-known Willamette Valley region to the north. In the Rogue Valley, you’ll find classic Bordeaux varieties; Rhone inspired wines, including Syrah and Viognier; Spanish grapes; and more.

Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot 

For around a century, the Garvin family farmed Sam’s Valley; running cattle and growing a variety of grasses on its 230 plus acres. In 1999, at the ripe young age of 70, Vern Garvin and his wife Dorothy began planting a vineyard on the property and the rest is history. Today, second and third generations of the Garvin family continue to preserve their vision and legacy. What started with 15 acres of vines has expanded to approximately 70 acres. The winery uses 100% estate grown fruit in their Cliff Creek Cellars wines and sells residual fruit to other producers. Stylistically, the winery produces French-inspired wines out of southern Oregon fruit. My personal experience with Rogue Valley wines has been limited, since many of the producers are small, family-run operations that tend to sell direct to consumer through the tasting room. However, I’ve discovered several hidden gems in the area and I’m adding Cliff Creek Cellars to the list. Their 2012 Sam’s Valley Vineyard Merlot is a wonderful food wine that absolutely deserves to be on your wine radar. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

From our vineyard to your table. Enjoy! ~ Cliff Creek Cellars

Cliff Creek Cellars 2012 Merlot (SRP $25): Bright ruby in color with violet reflections, this Merlot offers an aromatic melody of dark cherries and black currant laced with suggestions of forest floor, dried herbs, and spiced barrel notes. In the mouth, it is light-to-medium bodied and streamlined in texture, with an attractive feminine quality. The flavors are bright, mirroring the nose, and show a bit of restraint. A nice lift of acidity gives the wine good energy from first sip through to the vibrant, satisfying finish. This is just the ticket with light cheese selections, herb roast chicken, grilled veggies, mom's homemade meatloaf and more. It is truly a wonderful food wine. Only 195 cases of this wine were produced. Region: Rogue Valley, Oregon. Other info: ABV 13.6%, 19 months maturation: 34% 1-3 year barrels (100% French oak), 33% new oak barrels (95% French, 5% American), 33% neutral barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

10/19/2016

#MerlotMe: Duckhorn Vineyards 2013 Napa Valley Merlot

Hello Friends,

Thanks to excellent reads like ‘Judgment of Paris’ by George Taber, and the movie Bottle Shock – a fictionalized, Hollywood version of the actual events – many of us are familiar with the historic wine competition held in Paris, France, in the spring of 1976. Wines from two little-known Napa Valley producers triumphed over some of the finest examples from Bordeaux and Burgundy putting California on the wine map. The main grapes at this pivotal blind tasting were Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. These two highly-regarded varieties are the most successful and widely planted grapes in the valley today.

That same year, Dan and Margaret Duckhorn founded Duckhorn Vineyards in St. Helena; a city in Napa County. Inspired after a visit to Bordeaux’s famed Saint-Émilion and Pomerol appellations, where Merlot is the predominant grape, Mr. Duckhorn decided to focus on the variety. He felt Merlot was underappreciated in North America and thought Napa was an excellent place to grow it. At the time, Merlot was more popular in blends than on its own. The winery’s first vintage was in 1978. Nearly four decades later, the name Duckhorn Vineyards is without a doubt synonymous with quality, Napa-grown Merlot. As my social media friend Thomas Riley, author of The Grape Belt, recently said, “The Duckhorns are nothing if not reliable.” Duckhorn produces several Merlots from estate fruit and top sites within Napa Valley. The 2013 Duckhorn Napa Valley Merlot is an appellation blend. It is a great summer-to-fall transition wine and an excellent choice for a dinner party; especially if the flavors of autumn are being served. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

 "I liked the softness, the seductiveness, the color, the fact that it went with a lot of different foods; It seemed to me to be a wonderful wine to just enjoy. I became enchanted with Merlot." ~ Dan Duckhorn

Duckhorn Vineyards 2013 Napa Valley Merlot (SRP $54): This Merlot pours a deep ruby color with purple highlights, offering enticing aromas and juicy flavors redolent of purple stone fruit and black cherry interwoven with spice cake, mineral, hints of coffee grounds and anise seed. It is fuller-bodied and round in the mouth, with expansive texture, deep fruit flavors, and ripe tannins – all held together with [adequate] balancing acidity. It shows richness on the medium-long, polished finish. A very satisfying wine that is drinking nicely right now; just pop, pour and savor. Enjoy with tomato-based dishes, rotisserie chicken, autumnal fare and more. Region: Napa Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.5%, 88% Merlot | 7% Cabernet Sauvignon | 5% Cabernet Franc, 15 months maturation in 100% French oak (25% new), cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.

Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

10/10/2016

#MerlotMe: Trefethen Family Vineyards 2013 Merlot

Hello Friends,

Breaking News: Wine enthusiasts all over the world are celebrating ‘International Merlot Month’ throughout October! I’m kicking it off here with Trefethen Family Vineyards' 2013 Merlot. If this month-long event is news to you, then I invite you to join the fun and add to the discussion. Please share your favorite Merlot experiences, tasting notes, and images on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc., and tag them with hashtag #MerlotMe.

Trefethen Family Vineyards is one of the early pioneering families of Napa Valley. Established as Eshcol winery in 1886 by a Scottish sea captain, the building was eventually neglected and left to ruin. The modern era for the winery began when the Trefethen family purchased the abandoned property in 1968 and began work on restoring the historic winery to its former self. At the time, there were fewer than 25 wineries in Napa Valley and wine grapes were not the region’s top crop. According to John Trefethen, “Plums, prunes and walnuts were the dominant crops.”

I really think Miles would love this Merlot!

Today, Trefethen remains family-owned and specializes in 100% estate-grown wines produced from their Main Ranch in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley appellation. The Merlot fruit grown on this site benefits from warm days, which ripen and slowly matures the berries while the cooler nights help retain the natural, balancing acids.

Generally speaking, Merlot is oftentimes – and sometimes rightly so – seen as lacking in structure, mid-palate depth, and length. However, when the site and growing conditions are ideal and there is a laser focus on quality, as is the case here, results can be a harmonious, well-structured wine with admirable depth and length.  These examples have the potential to further develop in the bottle over time. The Trefethen Family Vineyards' 2013 Merlot is quite appealing and a welcome addition to any dinner table. For further information and where you can find this wine, please see my tasting notes below.

Trefethen Family Vineyards 2013 Merlot

Trefethen Family Vineyards 2013 Merlot (SRP $40): This deep ruby colored Merlot is drinking beautifully right now. Inviting scents of ripe plum, dried cherries, and spice fill the nose. The aromas extend to the palate, where they’re nicely wrapped in a delicate bow of vanilla bean and spiced fruitcake, while a dash of dried herb towards the back-end adds complexity. In the mouth, this wine is full-bodied with a rich texture that builds through the mid-palate. There is good balance of lifting acids and well-integrated tannins. The wine ends in a medium-long, polished finish. A pleasure to sip and an excellent addition to the dinner table – enjoy this wine with rosemary & garlic roasted pork loin, red sauce dishes, cornish hen and more. Region: Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, Napa Valley, California. Other info: ABV 14.8%, 95% Merlot | 4% Malbec | 1% Cabernet Sauvignon,  18 months in (40% new) 50% French oak, 36% American and 14% Hungarian oak barrels, cork enclosure. Click here to find this wine.


Have a question about this post? Feel free to drop me an e-mail at myvinespot@yahoo.com or hit me up on Facebook or Twitter. Stay tuned ...more to come. Happy Sipping, my friends! Disclosure: This wine was a sample provided for review. Thoughts are my own.

Live, Love, Laugh, Tweet, Sip, Enjoy!

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