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Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Prologue Merlot 2011

Merlot from Central Coast, California
    13.6% ABV
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    13.6% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Purple to red core. Dark chocolate, plums, cinnamon, and dried flowers are the most prevalent aromatics that are accented by cedar, clove, and vanilla. The palate follows the nose, and shows great length and fine tannins. This is a well knit wine with great dark fruit and spice that will evolve for years to come. This wine has a fantastic balance, power, purity of fruit, finesse, and palate length for its price point.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards

    Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards

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    Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards, Central Coast, California
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    Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards are located just east of St. Helena in the Napa Valley where Conn Creek flows out of Howell Mountain. Twenty-six acres of vineyards, divided into nine blocks, along with a fifteen acre-foot reservoir are the heart of this 40-acre grape-growing paradise.

    Separated from the Napa Valley floor by a north/south running ridge, the world-renowned wineries of Joseph Heitz and Joseph Phelps are located on the west side of this ridge and the Anderson's Estate Vineyards are on the east side at a perfect elevation of 400 feet.

    The vineyards not only enjoy Napa Valley's superb microclimate, but share the same Bale Loam Series as are found on the famous Rutherford Bench. This combination of clay-loam soil and microclimate produces up to 106 tons of exceptional fruit each year. One from which a world-class Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style blend, called Éloge, can be artfully handcrafted.

    Central Coast

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    The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley. Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types, and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

    Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.

    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry, and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco, and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.

    WWH133877_2011 Item# 146583