2011 Spring Mountain Merlot
Spring Mountain District
Harvest Date: October 26th, November 1st and 3rd, 2011
Grape Source: Spring Mountain District
Blend: 86% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 22 months in French Oak Barrels
60% new and 40% a range of 2-4 year old
Total Production: 545 Cases
Release Date: October 2013
Winemaker: David Tate
Vintage Notes: 2011 is seen as a difficult harvest. We made less than 20% normal of our valley floor wine, the Cyrus Ryan. However up atop Spring Mountain we sat through the challenging rains unharmed, being as the grapes were still firm being a couple weeks behind the valley floor in maturation. The rains cleared and we let some of the fruit hang until November, where we reached a great level of ripeness. Sourced from two Spring Mountain Vineyards (York Creek and Spring Mountain Vineyard), it is a true expression of what this AVA has to offer.
Winemaker Notes: This Merlot comes from higher elevations on Spring Mountain. In a challenging year, this elevation saved us. This cooler area causes later ripening, therefore the skins of our Merlot and Cabernet were quite firm when the rain followed by warmth struck the valley. This was the first year we ever harvested Merlot in November. The Cabernet franc addition of 14% adds some great spice and provides a solid backbone to the wine. This wine was aged for 22 months in small French oak barrels (approximately 60%) to allow the wine to soften and develop.
Tasting Notes: The thick skins of a cooler year show in the concentration of color on the 2011 Merlot. This wine is showing concentrated cassis, black plum and peppercorn on the nose. There is also prevalent minerality, mostly gravel with some dusty earth. Texturally the wine is so soft and silky. More red fruit and spice (clove and white pepper) are present on the palate. Firm chalky tannins begin to build early on, which is backed by nicely prevalent acidity. This merlot will hold strong for 9-10 years (2022-2023).