California MerlotCALIFORNIA MERLOT

Vineyards & Cellar Treatment

D'Agostini Merlot [mehr-LOH; mer-LOH] Though commonly referred to as simply Merlot, this red-wine grape is really Merlot-Noir (there is also a Merlot Blanc). Merlot is the primary grape in Saint-Emillon and Pomerol regions, and one of the two primaries (the other being Cabernet Sauvignon) of Bordeaux. Merlot acreage in the Department of Gironde, which encompasses most of Bordeaux, is almost twice that of Cabernet Sauvignon. However, Merlot has never been as highly regarded as Cabernet Sauvignon, which dominates in the Medoc and Graves growing area's that produce wines traditionally viewed as simply a grape to be blended with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. Still, Merlot can produce great wines like those of Pomerol's Chateau Petrous, which makes one of the world's most expensive red wines, most of which are 100 percent Merlot. In California, Merlot was initially planted as a blending grape, but in the late 1970s it began to stand on its own as a variety and has continually gained popularity. California Merlot acreage has continued to increase, as have the number of wineries producing Merlot wines.

Tasting Notes

D'Agostini vineyards are located at Sonoma county and Russian River. D'Agostini has been producing Merlot wines since 1988. In French, the word Merlot means "young blackbird", probably alluding to the grape's beautiful dark-blue color. Compared to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot grapes ripen fairly early and have lower tannins and higher sugar levels. They produce wines that are generally softer and with higher alcohol content. High-quality Merlot wines are medium to dark red in color, rich and fruity, with characteristics of black currant, cherry, and mint. Merlot wines are rounder and more supple than Cabernet Sauvignons, and usually can be enjoyed much earlier. Generally, Merlot wines do not age as long as Cabernet Sauvignons. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon (D'Agostini Merlot contains 2% Cabernet Sauvignon) or Cabernet Franc is often blended with Merlot grapes to give the wine a bit more structure.
------- Armagan Ozdiker, Proprietor


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