Indigo Hills Merlot 1997
Merlot from California
Sourced primarily from the Central Coast, Napa and Sonoma, our 1997 Merlot is a marriage of the best fruit from Californias cool coastal regions. The broad array of choice growing areas allow our winemakers unparalleled winestyle flexibility. Our desire to make a lush, elegant Merlot led our winemakers to select fruit from multiple wine growing appellations. The grapes for our 1997 Merlot were largely selected from vineyards in cooler growing climates such as Livermore Valley, just east of San Francisco Bay and Napa Valley. In these cool-climate areas, the grapes ripen slowly, revealing elegant varietal flavors, refreshing acidity, and ultimately produce wines with silkiness on the palate.
An unseasonably warm winter lead to an early bud-break followed by even warmer spring days. Harvest looked like it would be plentiful and occur early until chance rains in August greatly thinned the cvines. Although the resulting crop quantity was less than originally expected, the remaining grapes attained high levels of flavor concentration with an early September heat wave and following cool autumn. The resulting extended hang time further increased the flavor concentration of the grapes.
We harvested in the early morning hours to retain acidity levels and to ensure that the fruit remained cool when it arrived in our Winery. This minimizes bitter tannin extraction, which can make a finished wine harsh, while preserving the aromatic flavors and rich fruit character of the grapes. Further bitter tannins were reduced by destemming prior to fermentation, and retaining significant quantities of whole berries. This minimizes excess skin and seed contact and alleviates a "green and stemmy" taste. The resulting juice and mist were transferred to stainless steel tanks for fermentation, where we kept temperatures slightly warmer at 85o to develop full, lush fruit flavors.
After fermentation was completed, the wine was put through malolactic fermentation to develop smoothness by softening the acidity. The final blend was then racked into predominantly small American oak barrels deepening the cedar and toasty flavors of the finished wine. During the elevage period (or aging time in barrel) over the next eight to twelve months, the wine was racked every four to six months. The wine was then filtered and bottled in June, 1999.
Indigo Hills Winery
Indigo Hills wines come from various coastal growing regions, including North Coast (consisting of Sonoma, Mendocino, Napa, Lake, and Marin Counties), the Central Coast, Napa and Sonoma, all of which have warm daytime temperatures and cool nights. The broad array of choice growing areas presents the winemaker with unparalleled winestyle flexibility.
An elegant, refined wine from the coast. A perfect wine for dining and relaxing from the hurried world with the important people in your life.
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About Other California
California has nearly 100 American Viticulture Areas (AVAs) and accounts for almost 90% of wine production in the United States. In our section of Other California, we include wines from smaller AVAs as well as wines from the California AVA. Here are a few smaller AVAs you may see on the label:
Livermore Valley AVA, located right outside of San Francisco and home to wineries such as Wente.
Lodi County AVA, an AVA further east of San Francisco and known for its excellent, old-vine Zinfandels.
San Francisco Bay AVA, a sprawling AVA that covers Contra Costa, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties, to name a few.
Wine that holds only the California AVA is typically a wine that includes grapes from a number of different AVAs, which leads to the general labeling of the wine as California. This does not denote the quality of the wine, only the diversity of where the grapes originate.
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.