Alexander Valley Vineyards Merlot 2013
Big wines pair well with big foods—try lamb chops, prime rib, steaks and veal chops.
Blend: 97% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
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!"
Nearly a northern extension of Napa Valley, Alexander Valley starts just north of the small, Knights Valley, and is just a few minutes drive from the Napa town of Calistoga. It is Sonoma County’s hottest AVA. But the Russian River, which runs through the valley, creates cooler pockets and its soft, alluvial soil is ideal for grape growing, especially Cabernet Sauvignon. In fact, some believe that Alexander Valley Cabernets truly rival the best from Napa Valley and many of the heavy-hitter producers have largely invested here.
In addition to Cabernet Sauvignon, which makes up over 50% of plantings, Merlot and old vine Zinfandel thrive here. Ample, fleshy Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc dominate white wine production. Some old-vine plantings of Grenache have also been discovered and more recent experiments with Sangiovese and Barbera show great promise.
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.