The 1999 vintage marks Matanzas Creek's twenty second vintage as one of America's premium producers of this varietal. The winery's traditional blending of fruit from Matanzas Creek's Bennett Valley estate and the Carneros was supplemented with lots from Alexander and Knights Valleys. After crush, fermentation, and for selected lots, extended maceration the wine was racked to French oak barrels for an average of 13 months aging. The final blend includes components of Cabernet Sauvignon for structure and balance, as well as Syrah for additional spice and forward fruit. This marriage produced a rich opulent wine with impeccable balance of fruit and oak, well mannered tannins and the potential for graceful aging. A deep garnet color greets the eye as the Merlot is poured. Initially, the nose is marked by aromas of blueberries, black fruits and sweet oak.