GRAPE BLEND & SOURCE
Sunstone Estate Vineyard (39% Block B, 30% Block A, 26% Blocks C&D upper flats; and 5% Blocks C&D slopes)
pH: 3.48; Acidity: 6.15g/L; Alcohol: 14.5% 21 months in 40% new and 60% neutral French oak
Our 2017 Merlot Reserve features a fruit-forward nose of black plums, cherry cola and cassis, complemented by a breeze-like freshness, purple floral notes, and aromas of anise pizzelles. Full-bodied with chalky tannins, the palate has strong expressions of blueberries, plums, and lavender, with underlying notes of baker’s chocolate, nutmeg, and a tobacco finish.
Grapes for the 2017 Merlot Reserve come from all parts of the Sunstone Estate with each block representing a slightly different soil structure, sun exposure and weather pattern. All fruit was hand-harvested at night, de-stemmed and lightly crushed to separate fermentation vessels. Each of the lots have their own fermentation protocol that is custom-tailored to complement the site-specific grape structure and juice chemistry composition. Post fermentation the lots were pressed and left to settle for a few days before being barreled down to an overall average of 20% new French oak. Then in July of 2019 thirty-eight barrels were hand-selected to become a base wine that would be used to form both the Merlot Reserve and the merlot base for the 2017 Eros. From that 38-barrel base only about half was bottled to the Merlot Reserve, resulting in about 40% new French oak.
Juicy, cooler-climate Merlot wines pair well with roasted vegetables. You can even pair harder-to-match veggies such as tomatoes. Some of the best proteins to match with Merlot are in the middle-weight category. Think roast duck, turkey, and lean cuts of beef. When it comes to Merlot, it’s all about the sauce. Try it with Beef Bourguignon.
The 2017 Merlot Reserve can be enjoyed now and may be enhanced for up to an additional 5-8 years if stored in proper conditions.
Bion Rice, Director of Winemaking Matt Smith, Consulting Winemaker Jon Flores, Assistant Winemaker Jose Gomez, Cellar Master
Guadalupe Chavez, Assistant Cellar Master