Our block of Merlot could be said to be in the “heartland” of the vineyard. The four acres of vines are planted in an area that encompasses both the deepest swale and the highest points of the vineyard, and soils are both rocky alluvial and a bit of clay loam. Some of our oldest vines, they are own-rooted. 2011 was a challenging year, that began with a nasty and odd freezing weather pattern in April. With no inversion, this “frost” did not sink, and even the hilltops were affected. The second growth produced a much reduced crop, which then struggled to ripen with a much colder than normal summer. Not done with us yet, Mother Nature then sent a series of rainstorms in mid October. A lot of work in the vineyard resulted in a tiny and late, but intense crop.
The grapes were removed from stems upon delivery to the winery and inoculated with FX-10 yeast. Twice daily pumpovers with délestage and then extended maceration occured to soften the tannic structure of the wine. In November, the new wine was racked to puncheons and barriques (20% new French Oak) until July of 2013, when a barrel selection for the Merlot varietal bottling was made.