The rich fruit flavors in Stone Cellars Merlot are concentrated but wonderfully balanced. It is full of ripe cherry and black stone fruit on the nose, along
with a hint of mint. The intense flavors of plum, blueberry and blackberry are all enhanced by warm, brown spices that linger on the finish. The Stone Cellars Merlot is perfect as a pre-dinner aperitif, as well as an ideal match for a variety of rich dishes such as chili con carne or pasta puttanesca.
Stone Cellars Winery
Stone Cellars by Beringer is a new line of smooth classically structured varietal wines that reflect the tradition of quality set forth 125 years ago by Jacob Beringer. In the decades since then, Beringer has been at the forefront viniculture and winemaking innovation to ensure consistent high quality across all product lines, and these new wines are no exception.
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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 unto 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.
This wine is delicious and I would have given it four stars but the winos probably would have been aghast. This is the wine you give your non-wino friends over for burgers or steaks and conversation. No surprises, no nasty aftertaste just a good experience from start to finish. They will thank you for it. The only con is having a 'cork', too much work for a friendly little wine that will be well used in a crowd. I just ordered my second case.
Considering the price, Beringer's Stone Cellars Merlot is an enjoyable wine. I'll keep it for my personal use before dinner, serving my guests something a tad more upscale! After all, I'm in my 21st year of retirement, and I have to conserve somewhere.
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.