2016 Reserve Merlot
A quintessential Paso Robles Merlot, this wine opens with fresh blackberry, notes of elderberry and plum, making way for deep black cherry on the midpalate. Balanced with the fruit are soft, supple tannins, backed by hints of chicory and clove, finishing with a touch of cocoa dust.
Grown on the western edge of the Paso Robles AVA, these grapes experience a unique microclimate of very warm days countered by cool nights and mornings courtesy of the marine influence that penetrates through the Templeton Gap. Temperature fluctuations of as much as 50° F in a single day stress the grapes to produce concentrated, bold aromas and flavors.
Much to the delight of both grape growers and winemakers, the 2016 vintage carried through from beginning to end, with ideal conditions and ideal results. Long-awaited rainfall during the winter and early spring replenished desperate reservoirs and ground water, easing the concerns generated by several years’ worth of drought conditions. The summer was kind, with only a few heat spikes, which then carried over into a true Indian Summer; keeping daytime temperatures above normal, and the mornings foggy and cool throughout the peak month of September, permitting us to take our time in evaluating and calling picks at their optimal maturity. Nature patiently waited for us to bring in our final lots before returning with the rain that has traditionally been the signal for the end of the harvest season.
Picked overnight into ½ ton bins to avoid the heat of the day, and delivered to us in the early morning hours, the grapes are destemmed to stainless steel fermenters. Pumpovers are performed three times daily with a gentle overhead sprinkler that slowly percolates the juice through the cap to avoid over-extracting the intense tannins. After finishing primary fermentation, the wine is allowed to sit on the skins for up to 10 days to broaden and soften the mouthfeel, before being pressed to 50% new French and American oak to age for 14 months.