Merlot from the Wetzel Family Estate has a reputation for being a big, complex wine.
First produced in 1984, this has been a classically structured wine each year, often showing as much tannin as many Cabernet Sauvignons.
The 2020 growing season enjoyed near-perfect growing conditions. The year began with unseasonably warm temperatures, and lower than normal rainfall. This was followed by weeks of steady daytime heat and cool evenings, allowing the grapes to ripen slowly.
We prune our Merlot vines heavily and drop fruit several times during the growing season so the remaining clusters ripen evenly. Winemaker Kevin Hall has found that fermenting Merlot at a slightly lower temperature than some of our other Bordeaux varieties maintains the lush flavors and structure. After fermentation the wine spent 15 months aging in a combination of French and American oak barrels. Like many, we experienced some supply chain issues obtaining the correctly colored stelvin closure. You’ll see some cases with a black/burgundy top, while others will have our recognizable burgundy top.
This wine always impresses red wine lovers, and we refer to it as a Merlot for Cabernet lovers. There are big aromas of black cherry, plum, cassis, vanilla and oak in the glass. This wine has broad mouth-feel with flavors of cherry, cassis, blackberry, plum and a hint of chocolate. This is a nicely balanced wine with a long, textured finish.
2018: 92 points & Gold Medal - Beverage Testing Institute
2017: 91 points - California State Fair
2016: 96 points, Chairman's Trophy & Great Value - Ultimate Wine Challenge