51% 2014 Merlot, Block B, Sunstone Estate, Santa Ynez Valley
34% 2014 Merlot, Block A, Sunstone Estate, Santa Ynez Valley
15% 2014 Merlot, Block C, Sunstone Estate, Santa Ynez Valley
Bramble berries, blueberries, underripe cherries and dark plums are accented by cinnamon, brown sugar and white pepper, followed by subtle bay leaf, thyme, cayenne pepper, and a long finish of toasty French oak vanillin. This wine's medium-full bodied, rich mouthfeel is framed by fresh acidity and moderate tannins.
Sunstone’s 25-acre vineyard was planted in 1990 by the Rice Family to Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Mourvedre and Viognier, and is completely farmed in an organic, bio-sustainable manner. The Sunstone Reserve Merlot is primarily grown in a gravelly-sand block on the middle terrace at the property. 2014 marks their 22nd vintage. Soils with moderate water-holding capacity and excellent drainage produce balanced vines and a small crop of tiny berries—perfect for making the intense wines for which Sunstone is known.
The 2014 Merlot Reserve is a collaboration of Merlot from our A, B and C blocks. Blocks A and B sit right along Refugio Road and sit on a foundation of Monterey shale whereas Block C sits on a much more sandy topsoil and is influenced by the gently sloping hillside viewable from the Villa. Block A was harvested on September 23rd, 2014 at 25.2 brix. Then Block B was harvested on October 1st, 2014 at 24.9 brix. Lastly, Block C was harvested the next day on October 2nd at 26.2 brix. All lots were inoculated with BDX yeast and left to ferment on the skins for over two weeks. Upon completion of fermentation the lots were aged separately in a combination of new and neutral french oak for 21 months and bottled in August 2016, yielding a total case production of 370 12/750mL cases and 120 magnums.
This medium-full bodied Merlot is delicious now, but will gracefully mature over the next 2-6 years (through 2022), and potentially longer if cellared properly.
Bion Rice, Director of Winemaking
Jose Gomez, Cellar Master
Guadalupe Chavez, Assistant Cellar Master
Residual Sugar: DRY