Our 2009 has all the signature attributes of Alexander Valley Merlot including black tea, dried herbs, black cherries and wild berries. It is ripe without being over-ripe. The new oak barrels add notes of espresso and mocha to the nose plus sweet vanilla to the palate. The cool temperatures throughout the growing season created a wine that is sleek, restrained and understated.
The grapes were crushed and de-stemmed followed by a three-day cold soak. Fermentation was warm, especially mid-Brix to extract more color and riper tannins. We pressed off slightly sweet to minimize astringency. All lots were transferred into new and one-year-old, thin-stave Hungarian and Saury French Oak barrels. The first assemblage happened in early Spring, 2010 to help with color stability and to build more structure and body. We racked in December and did an egg white fining to reduce barrel tannins. The wine was promptly bottled in late January, 2011.