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While it is never easy getting grapes to mature perfectly, the 1999 vintage was a little more challenging than most. The cooler coastal vineyard sites in normal years allow for slow maturation, but the 1999 growing season was colder than usual. Luckily, the crop size was small. This fact was the vintage's salvation. Even an average size crop would not have ripened. This year's wine benefited from blending a significant amount of Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the warmer and riper vineyard site. In a
curious reversal of the usual pattern, some of the highest quality red wines were from some of the warmer regions in 1999. The art of blending played a significant role this year. One of the nice things about Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the other Bordeaux varietals is that they take well to each other in a blend.
The flavor profile is classical, with the Merlot giving the red berry freshness and a hint of herbs, while the Cabernet pulls it together with a darker plum-like fruit and the typical cedar. Like all the Echelon wines, the oak flavors are in the background, with the fruit flavors occupying the foreground. Merlot has the structure to stand up to almost any food. It has enough tannins to
pair well with meats such as lamb or duck, and is delicate enough to serve with pasta dishes.
-Larry Brooks, Consulting Winemaker
Combining the best fruit from friends" and neighbors" vineyards, Echelon produces serious wines for everyday drinking. To obtain this exceptional fruit, Echelon pioneered the development of long-term contracts with growers in emerging regions, including areas within California"s Central Coast and the Clarksburg appellation"s Esperanza Vineyard. Echelon"s winery is located in San...Read More About Echelon
The largest of California's wine growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of California's wine. The district sprawls out, covering most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara. Smaller sub-AVAs of the Central Coast include Monterey Bay, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, Santa Cruz Mountains and many others. Notable Facts...Read More About Central Coast
No second fiddle
Merlot is coming back into its own. High popularity led to mass production, which then led to a backlash towards the variety (remember Miles in Sideways?). But passionate Merlot producers, and of course the right bank of Bordeaux, continued to produce quality versions of this grape. Merlot remains the principle grape of top chateaux in St...Read More About Merlot
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