This wine is great for food pairings, including burgers, creamy cheeses, enchiladas and roasted lamb.
At the turn of the century, brothers Phillip and John Bargetto emigrated from Piedmont, Italy and later established Bargetto winery in 1933. They brought with them years of Italian wine-making history. Wanting to highlight the distinct quality of their mountain-grown wine, Phillip and John decided to label their first wine with the designation "Select Mountain Vineyard" to showcase where the grapes were grown.
The Next Generation...
The Bargetto Family winemaking heritage continued with John's son, Lawrence, who during the 1960's and 1970's introduced modern technology such as stainless steel fermentation and added new Santa Cruz Mountains varietals such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. He also instituted the Chaucer's line.
Today, the third generation of Bargetto's direct the operation of the winery, which stands as the oldest California winery producing Santa Cruz Mountains wines. We have continued our pioneering spirit with the establishment of a new Santa Cruz Mountains Vineyard in Corralitos, California (Santa Cruz County), where we have planted Chardonnay, Merlot and Pinot Noir. In keeping with our family heritage, we plan to experiment with the northern Italian varieties.
Today the fourth most widely planted red variety in the state, Merlot has much to offer. While it bears similarities to Cabernet Sauvignon (its half-sibling), it tends to be lower in both acidity and tannins, giving Merlot wines a mouthfeel that is often perceived as soft, round and plush. These qualities make it an ideal blending partner for Cabernet, the two complementing each other throughout.
Merlot arrived relatively late to the California wine scene. It wasn’t until the 1970’s when producers like Louis Martini, Sterling and Matanzas Creek—influenced by European Merlot blends—began crafting single varietal versions. These trend-setting bottles opened the eyes of others in the California wine scene and spurred increased plantings. From there, the variety’s lush drinkability led to a surge in popularity, then overplanting (some of it on unsuitable sites) and finally a backlash that was turbo-charged by the infamous 2004 film, Sideways. What most 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 with Cabernet Franc.
Fine examples of California Merlot—either as a single varietal wine or as part of a blend—can be found from Napa Valley, Sonoma County, the Central Coast and most regions around the state. Merlot wines offer a ripe, sensual mouthful of plummy fruit, suggestions of mint, herbs and vanilla, all carried along by an approachable structure and often, a great potential for improving with age.