Merlot from the Wetzel Family Estate has a reputation for being a big, structured wine. First produced in 1984, this has been a classically structured wine each year, often showing as much tannin as our Cabernet Sauvignon.
Overall, 2016 was a more normal growing season than the last few years. While the drought was far from over, we received much needed rain over the winter and early spring. The good weather continued through the summer with no damaging heat spikes. Harvest started and ended early, yields were reduced a little, but the quality and flavor of the grapes were stellar.
We prune our Merlot vines heavily and drop fruit several times during the growing season so the remaining clusters ripen evenly. Winemaker Kevin Hall has found that fermenting Merlot at a slightly lower temperature than some of our other Bordeaux varieties maintains the lush flavors and structure. After fermentation the lots spend 12 months aging in a combination of French and American oak barrels.
This wine always impresses red wine lovers, and we refer to it as a Merlot for Cabernet lovers. There are spicy aromas of dark fruits, cassis, cherry, plum, vanilla, oak and slight chocolate in the glass. This wine has broad mouth-feel with flavors of cherry, blackberry, cassis, plum and chocolate. This is a big, nicely balanced wine with chewy tannins on the long finish.
Big wines pair well with big foods - try lamb chops, prime rib, steaks and veal chops.