Thursday, October 15, 2009
18 year old California Merlot
Several days ago, I polished off the remains of a 1991 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard Merlot. Lots of acid, lots of presence, lots of sediment. Not a lot of wood, not a lot of alcohol (12.5%), not a whole lot of depth. Overall, though, the winning traits of the wine carried the bottle to the "like it" side of my memory. Intense red and dark plum, cherry, and just the barest hint of a sweet herbal, almost eucalypt like element were harmonizing nicely together. This particular bottling actually contained 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc from Bates Ranch, which is more familiar to me than the source of the Merlot here, Jankris Vineyard. According to the notes on their website, this is likely the best Merlot the winery ever made.
As I've stated many times before, the better wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains age as well as (if not better than) wines from from anywhere else in California. Of course Montebello is one of the wine world's greats, but you don't need to pay Montebello prices for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard wines. I'd love to experiment with some other older Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard bottlings. Anyone in the Bay Area game for a tasting?