2014 Frostwatch Merlot

Year: 2014
Appellation: Bennett Valley, Sonoma County
Country: USA-California
Wine Spectator: 88
Wine Advocate: 90+
Connoisseurs' Guide: 88
Wine Enthusiast: 90
Red Wine
Alcohol by Volume: 14.9%
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"Offers cedar spice on the nose with flavors to match as well as dried cherry and plum tart notes, ending with hints of espresso, dark chocolate and tar on the ripe finish. Drink now through 2021. 225 cases made. -KM" (WS)

"Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2014 Merlot is scented of red and black plums, dried Mediterranean herbs, vanilla and spice box. Full-bodied in the mouth, it has a relatively tannic backbone dominating the fruit and drying out the finish slightly, but there is a lot of expressive fruit to love and it should reward another 3-5 years in bottle." (WA)

"Red cherry scents merge with subtle touches of oak and herbs in the mid-density aromas of this wine, and the ensuing, slightly juicy flavors replay much the same mix within a fairly firm frame. There is reasonable richness and depth at work here, but things do get a little ragged and hot at the end, and, given the choice, we would set it aside and wait for the smoothing that an extra year or two of age should bring. Reviewed: April 2018" (CG)

"Heady in voluptuous up-front oak, this wine's rich full-bodied character continues with a taste of brioche and caramel apple. The creaminess on the palate is met by buoyant underlying acidity. -Virginie Boone" (WE)

Winery Notes:
Vineyard Source:
The grapes come from Frostwatch Vineyard located in Bennett Valley, a relatively new AVA in Sonoma County. A gap in the surrounding mountains permits cool coastal breezes and fog to pour into the valley on a regular basis throughout the spring and summer. As a result, the appellation is distinguished by its very long growing season, modest yields relative to other areas and full flavored wines with good natural acidity. Frostwatch Vineyard, planted in 1997, is located on a rocky apron beneath Bennett Peak.

Winemaking:
The wine was fermented utilizing indigenous yeast with a ten day cold soak, temperature controlled fermentation (84 degrees F) and post fermentation extended maceration, with warming to 89 degrees F. The wine was on its skins for a total of 29 days. On October 20th, the wine was drained and gently pressed in a hydraulic basket press and put into a mix of new and used French oak barrels for 19 months. Malolactic fermentation utilizing indigenous malolactic bacteria began shortly after barrel down and finished the last week of January, 2015. The wine was stirred and topped on a weekly basis during the three month period it was going through malolactic fermentation. The lees stirring contributes a silky yet full textureto the mid-palate of the wine. After malolactic was finished, the barrels were topped and stirred on a monthly basis until February of 2016. On April 5th, the wine was then carefully racked and bottled unfined and unfiltered on April 14, 2016. The wine will be allowed to bottle age until its release the next year.

Tasting Notes:
This wine exhibits raspberry and spice notes on the nose, with dense cherries, plums and blackberry on the palate. Further, the wine has great texture, with a silky mouthfeel that exhibits nicely balanced fruit with just the right amount of acidity for pairing with a variety of foods.