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Bargetto Central Coast Retro Merlot 2014
Best food pairing include: burgers, creamy cheeses, enchiladas and roasted lamb.
Blend: 86% Merlot, 9% Petite Sirah, 4% Zinfandel, and 1% Other.
At the turn of the century, brothers Phillip and John BARGETTO (seated above) 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 BARGETTOs 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.
The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches 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 San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.
While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.
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. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, 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.
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.
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 with Cabernet Franc.