Alexander Valley Vineyards Merlot 2003
History, tradition, and excellence. Those three words easily describe Alexander Valley Vineyards. In the mid-1800s valley namesake Cyrus Alexander called the land that is home to AVV as "the brightest and best spot in the world." He settled, built his home, and raised his family. In 1962 the Wetzel Family followed his lead, continuing a tradition of family farming. Today the fourth generation of their family is growing up next door to the working winery known around the world as "AVV."
The Wetzel Family Estate spans over 720 acres with vineyards on both sides of the Russian River, from the valley floor up to the Mayacamas mountains. In between there is a wide diversity of micro-climates, elevations, exposures, and soil types. The Russian River defines this land with foggy mornings, warm days, and diurnal temperature swings of 40 to 50 degrees. Their estate vineyards combined with veteran winemaker Kevin Hall's classic winemaking techniques maximize the balance of fruit and acidity in every wine. Barrel aging in their underground wine caves accentuates the wine's character. Every bottle shares AVV's story and each glass brings the special place they call home to yours.
While AVV is well known for their elegant Cabernet Sauvignon, they also produce an array of estate wines including Chardonnay, Merlot, Zinfandel and their premium Cab blend – CYRUS. The secret to the quality and value in their hand-crafted wines starts with their initial property purchase in 1962 and continues with their commitment to their land.
Alexander Valley Vineyard's practices were initially recognized by the California Sustainable Winegrowing Alliance in March 2006 and in 2010 they were recognized as a certified "Sonoma Green Business." Their motto says it all: "Our family creates wines of distinction for everyone!"
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Sonoma County wines are produced with carefully selected grape varieties to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous red wines like Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.