Dom. St. George Merlot 2000
Merlot from Sonoma County, California
Rich black cherry aromas are followed by lush fruit flavors with hints of mint and vanilla. Full-bodied in the classic Merlot style, this wine is soft on the palate, with a long finish. An excellent companion to lamb, beef, or hearty pasta dishes.
Domaine St. George Winery
The Domaine Saint George vineyards date back to 1928, when Giovanni Cambiaso found an ideal tract of land in Sonoma County above the Russian River and planted a vineyard. Since then the soils and microclimates of Sonoma County have been discovered to offer ideal growing conditions for premium wine grapesThe Cambiaso Winery, founded in 1934, was renamed the Domaine Saint George Winery in 1986 following the introduction and extraordinary popularity of that brand. The vineyards were replanted in 1995 to select clones of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. In outstanding vintages, an estate-bottled Cabernet Sauvignon is produced from the "home" vineyard, a wine that typically sells out upon release. The 1994 vintage of this STG Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon was named "The Best Red Wine of the Year" by the noted syndicated wine writer Jerry D. Mead. The vineyards at Domaine Saint George have a history which parallels that of Sonoma County as a source of world-class varietal wines.
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About Sonoma County
Twice as large as Napa in size, Sonoma County only makes about a half the amount of wine as her northeasterly neighbor. But Sonoma, with her size, is able to vouch for more diversity within her borders, including sub-AVAs that are climatically varied. The atmosphere of Sonoma is decidedly laid back and down home country style. But in wines, they are keeping up with the Joneses, or Napa-ites if you will. Grape varieties are more varied here, from Pinot Noir and Zinfandel to Cabernet Sauvignon and Chardonnay.
The largest sub-AVAs of Sonoma include Dry Creek Valley, Russian River Valley, Alexander Valley and Sonoma Valley. Each sub-AVA, with its own micro-climate, is unique in its grape varieties and styles of wine. Dry Creek makes a mean Zinfandel while Russian River produces stand up Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The Alexander Valley makes some of the better Cabernet Sauvignons in the county and Sonoma Valley creates excellent wines from all the above varieties. Other grapes found throughout Sonoma include Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah.
It's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
Alcohol By Volume Guide
Most wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Crisp
- Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
- Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
- Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.