The grapes for this 2010 Merlot came from the Sequoia Grove estate vineyard in Rutherford and the Stagecoach Vineyard in Atlas Peak. The estate fruit was harvest on October 1 at 26 Brix, and the Stagecoach Vineyard fruit on October 5 and 12, at 26.2 and 27. 2 Brix, respectively. The fruit was hand sorted before a two-day cold soak. We inoculated the wine with an assortment of French yeast strains before a cool fermentation process, with gentle pumpovers done 2-3 times per day. In barrel, the wine underwent malolactic fermentation and was racked two times before bottling in June 2011. The wine was then aged in our underground cellar until its release in September 2012.
The 2010 vintage was a welcome relief from the dry weather pattern of the previous three years. A wet winter led into a wet spring, which eventually resulted in lower yields. The coolest summer in 40 years pushed the beginning of our harvest into mid-October, when the warm weather and sunshine finally arrived. Although everything usually comes in at the same time, this year it REALLY came in all at the same time. Like a pulling off a Band-Aid quickly, in three short weeks, the entire harvest was over, from Sauvignon Blanc to Cabernet Sauvignon. When the last grapes were in, we all agreed it was one of the most nerve-wracking harvests in a long time, but while the yields were lower, they had some of the most phenomenal color and flavor development we’d seen in a while, which made it all worth it.
The flavors in this wine are so fresh it would be a great pre-dinner wine paired with cheese. It would also go well with a second course of caramelized onion, fig and prosciutto pizza. This wine will age at least 3-5 years upon release.