DISCLAIMER: This post was totally meant to go out prior to harvest and didn’t. For a quick recap of our 2016 bottling run read on! We will be looking forward to these releases next fall.
As is tradition before harvest kicks into high gear we make a little bit of room in the cellar. This month the 2016 Merlot and Single barrel blends were finalized and made their way into bottle where they will sit for another year before release.
2016 was about as easy-going as a growing season as there could be for MTGA. Yields greatly rebounded after a rough go the year before. The Merlot came through in prime condition and the fermentations continued without a hitch. In spite of the normal craziness that harvest provides, 2016 was about as cool and collected as you can get.
Similar to the 2016 Pinot Noir we bottled up in the spring the Merlot and Single Barrel are some big guns. For the Single Barrel in particular we adjusted our normal oak program to include a new Gamba barrel to match the intensity that the wine was showing right out of the gate. In that same light we also upped the ante with the rest of Merlot lots by utilizing our favorite Sylvan Grand Reserve barrels.
As is tradition, over the last 20 months we kept a close eye on the seven barrels that we were able to get from the 2016 harvest. We continued our minimalistic approach with light rackings barrel to barrel twice per year before we were ready to put together the final blends.
Come June of this year we were able to pull samples of each lot to start the blending process. There is nothing quite like seeing which barrels stand out and how they all come together to create the final blends of each wine. The Single Barrel always stands out but this particular year it really showed some intensity. Combined with our new barrel program along with the power that 2016 had this next year in bottle is going to work some magic and allow all of its awesome characteristics to meld together. The Merlot stayed pretty consistent with prior years though it does have a bit more structure to it as well. The bright red fruit characteristics and bright acidity as a backbone still define what MTGA Merlot is all about.
As stressful as bottling can be, seeing almost two years of hard work head into bottle is an awesome sight (especially when the bottling line doesn’t break down). With these 175 cases put to bed until they are ready for release next fall. Until then stay tuned for our upcoming release of the 2015 Merlot and Single barrel next month!