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Once & Future 2016 Sangiacomo Vineyard Merlot

Once & Future 2016 Sangiacomo Vineyard Merlot

$ 66.99

Joel made his first Sangiacomo Merlot at Ravenswood in 1989. He learned of this vineyard from Dave Ramey, who had encouraged the Sangiacomo family to plant it for his use at Matanzas Creek. Joel continued to make Merlot from Sangiacomo Vineyard until the early 2000s. Ultimately, Constellation decided that Ravenswood’s focus should be on Zinfandel, not Merlot. At about the same time, Matanzas Creek discontinued its purchase of the Sangiacomo Merlot fruit.

Joel had assumed that the Sangiacomos had pulled all these grapes out and replaced them with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, so he was happily surprised when his son Morgan told him that a section of Merlot still remained on the Kiser Ranch. This block, formerly 13-year-old Riesling vines, was budded to Merlot in 1987 and interplanted to reduce spacing in 1991. The soil is shallow gravel clay-loam, which is ideal for Merlot.

The wine is fermented with indigenous yeast and aged in French oak. Rich fruit, herb, vanilla, and cedar notes lead seamlessly into the lush velvety texture and full cherry berry fruit flavors, accented with hints of tar and mineral. Delicious to drink in the near term, the ripe tannins and bright acidity promise flavor development over the next decade or more.

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