It is a classic blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc... Also known as: Claret, Proprietary Red, Bordeaux Blend and, if you must, Meritage. From the blockbuster 1997 California vintage, and drinking beautifully right now.
We describe it as a St. Emilion with a suntan. Everything you expect from an Old World wine... balance, understated elegance, the ability to age gracefully, cuisine friendly with incredibly complex aromas of black olive and dried herbs... Yet with that unmistakable New World quality of voluptuous fruit... like: dried cherry, plum, blackberry... and a long, mouth-watering finish.
Restraint is the mantra at RSV. Every technique, such as small lot fermentation, delicate cap irrigation or punch down, matching yeast to clone, even the selection of which French coopers' barrels are used for each individual vineyard block, has been selected to emphasize the inherent characteristics of the grape. RSV strongly believes that oak should play a supporting role and not dominate the fruit. We select barrels from four different French coopers who properly age and toast their wood for subtle and complex flavors. We then mix new and old barrels within each lot in order to find that perfect balance between new wood vanillin flavor and old wood suppleness. The wines are barrel aged for almost two years before bottling.
In case you are interested: This wine has replaced our Reserve Merlot. It was more important to make the best possible wine than try to stay within the 75% requirements necessary to call it a Merlot. People who love a good Merlot, Bordeaux, or anyone who likes a supple yet complex wine, will love the Vineyard Reserve.
If you don't trust our word for it... Master of Wine, Master Sommelier and publisher of Restaurant wine, Ronn Wiegand, has bestowed four stars on this wine and has described it as: "Refined, claret-like blend relying on structure, restraint, and balance for its effect. Full bodied, crisp, and complex, tasting of ripe cherry, vanilla, plum, and bay leaf."