Time for a little geek-out session on the new release: The 2011 MTGA Merlot!
The 2011 Merlot all began with a very cool growing season, similar to that of 2010 season but without the random heat spike to 114 degrees. While 2011 was cooler than average it consistently cool, which meant the grapes ripened slowly and uniformly. The cool weather also meant the harvest was delayed by a few weeks. The grapes came into the winery on October 23rd and were promptly destemmed, crushed and pumped into half-ton macro bins for fermentation. Yeast was added the next morning and away the fermentations went! Two types of yeast were utilized to create to separate, distinct lots; one that exhibited more structure and the other being more fruit forward. After a little over two weeks the bins were pressed off and barreled down.
Only French oak was used during the aging process and all of the barrels had been used once or twice before. Similar to the previous vintage I was looking for a subtle oak influence; a touch of vanilla and a bit of spice is all I really wanted and that is exactly what I got.
It took a solid 16 months for all of the characteristics to begin to meld together. I wanted the structure, specifically the acidity, to shine early on. Fruit characteristics of cherries, strawberries and a bit of watermelon stand out with that nice little touch of spice to round things out. The remaining 7 months of aging allowed all of those characteristics really come together prior to the bottling date.
As of September 20th the wine made its way into bottle. The 2011 Merlot is still very much a baby. For those of you who love a wine that gives your taste buds a nice kick in the pants this will be a wine for you. If you are looking for a wine that is going to gain more depth over the coming months, and years, this wine will be for you. The word I use most to describe this wine “broad.” Despite being young this wine has some great depth right out of the gate.
I might be a little biased, but I am a very proud of this next release. I am excited to be able to share the 2011 Merlot with you and hope you will enjoy drinking it as much as I did making it.