The grapes for our Merlot come from our long planned and newly planted Tchelistcheff vineyard block which graces the north side of our winery entrance. We named this vineyard in honor of our eminent consultant and friend, André Tchelistcheff, who, in the mid-1980s, facilitated a unique joint-venture possibility between famed Châ- teau Ausone and ourselves. Château Ausone is one of the twelve Premiers Grands Crus in the St-Emilion region of Bordeaux where Merlot is the primary red instead of Cabernet Sauvignon. (The same is the case in neighboring Pomerol where, with Château Petrus and others, Merlot is the leading vine, Cabernet the attending.) Through Ausone's important soil analyses of our property, we both were convinced that a major planting of Merlot in this location showed great promise. Changes in Ausone's family ownership brought their joint-venture explorations to an end, but we had confirmation of our belief that Merlot would find a perfect Alexander Valley home here at Field Stone. Our vineyard manager, Ben Staten, initiated our close-spaced planting in the mid-nineties, utilizing two recommended French clonal sources along with a superb California source. We used low vigor rootstock to insure a controlled low crop for the highest possible wine quality. Our 2013 release represents the fruition of our longanticipated plans—and the results are indeed more than just promising—as you will taste!
With our Merlot we selected the very best of our prized clones planted in 1997. The winning blend came from a marriage between Mr. “Big, Dark, and Delicious” (our 181 clone) and Ms. “California Svelte” (our Bear Flat clone). With complimentary new French-coopered American oak (30%) this deep, full-fruited, big red is packed with all the attributes necessary to be compared to our acclaimed Cabernets: deep violet color, seductive complex aromas, and rich flavors.