Coming Soon: The 2013 Merlot

The countdown to release day is officially here! With just a couple of weeks to go before release day here is a snapshot of what to expect from the almighty 2013 vintage.

Disclaimer: by “snapshot” I mean me getting a little carried away with how excited I am about the upcoming release of this wine on October 4th.

And away we go!

MTA_0295To start out with, I have been slowly but surely fine-tuning the release process for the MTGA Merlot. Initially I took the “get it out into the world” mentality which meant a quicker release after the wine was bottled. As the years have gone on I have selfishly held onto cases for my 2010-2012 releases to see how they fare as they age. After some careful consideration and tempering of my drive to share these wines I’ve found that it takes two and a half to three years for the Merlot to really hit its stride; hence the slight delay between the release of the 2012 Merlot and the 2013 Merlot. Don’t worry though, it was beyond worth it.

With some extra time in barrel the 2013 Merlot is stunning. While I love the prior releases dearly the 2013 is looking to be a heavy hitter right out of the gate (largely due to that extra aging time).

It is still 100% Merlot, and 100% awesome, from just outside of St. Helena. With a light oak aging regimen the bright fruit characteristics continue to shine with a GORGEOUS acidity and a hint of toasty-ness and tannin to give it some structure. That sounded slightly like a semi-lame back label that tries to convince you that a wine is actually pretty good but I honestly couldn’t think of a better way to describe this release… Sorry, not sorry.

I do believe that 2013 is going to be a combination of what we saw (and tasted) from 2011 and 2012. Take the best of the two prior vintages and throw them into one. Once again if you made a bad wine in 2013 you really REALLY need to rethink your day job.

Racking 2013 MEOn the production side of things I continued with what has worked so well for the previous vintages: “open” top fermentations in macro bins with a couple of different yeast strains, punch downs a couple times a day to mix the grape skins back into the juice and a light pressing cycle once the primary fermentation is complete to get all of that delicious grape juice into French oak barrels. With regular check-ins and a few rackings over the next two years the 2013 Merlot would grow and evolve into what it is today.

It is fairly common, and a huge cliché, for winemakers to say that their favorite vintage is whatever the current one is. While I hate to say it, I completely agree. Every vintage you learn something new and that gets carried over to the next vintage. As time goes on the wines get better and better (at the very least that is our goal). With that I will let you join in on the count down to October 4th when the 2013 Merlot will officially be available.

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