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Barton & Guestier Merlot 1999

Merlot from Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    Vins de pays d'Oc, officially recognised since 1987, are produced in Languedoc Roussillon. This vineyard covers 750,000 acres and borders the Mediterranean Sea. The climate is dry, hot and sunny. The wines produced are rich in alcohol and concentrated in aromas and colour. VINTAGE In 1999 harvest began on August 30th for the whites and September 5th for the reds: it was completed by October 15th. Overall the quality was relatively uneven compared with that of 1998 which was typically Mediterranean and very regular. The principal characteristics of 1999 were an unusual rainfall distribution, a high potential yield and the risk of mildew and botrytis. However, thanks to the fine weather in August, the condition of the grapes improved enormously. The average potential alcohol was slightly lower than in 1998 with less colour in the high yielding areas and with acidity levels a little higher, but in the areas selected by Barton & Guestier, where the quantities produced were reasonable, the wines were remarkable. WINEMAKING While respecting the traditional French winemaking techniques (de-stalking and crushing the grapes), a maximum temperature of 30°C is maintained during the alcoholic fermentation. The focus during the long maceration (3 weeks) is on color and tannin extraction. Two "delestages" per day are necessary (emptying the fermenting juice from the vat and pumping it back on to the solids). After racking and malolactic fermentation, the wines are blended and aged in vats on the lees (dead yeast and bacteria) with controlled oxidation (regular addition of oxygen in the wine). WINEMAKER NOTES Deep purple in color. Intense and perfumed, with aromas of ripe red fruit (blueberry and redcurrant jam) and grilled notes. At the same time wealthy and powerful, with velvety tannins and a strong fruity after taste. A great wine!

    Critical Acclaim

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    Barton & Guestier

    Barton & Guestier

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    Barton & Guestier, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
    The company's founder, Thomas Barton, left his native Ireland and emigrated to Bordeaux when he was just 30 years old. He was a true adventurer, looking to make his fortune, and founded a shipping company in 1725. The first barrels of wine were naturally exported to Ireland, which, along with Holland, was the biggest market for Bordeaux in the early 18th century. Very quickly, his efforts brought an unbelievable level of prosperity. He was the first shipper to have his own wine estates. By 1747, Thomas Barton was considered Bordeaux’s number one shipper. His loyal clients nicknamed him "French Tom".

    His family, his associates and his successors followed his example. In 1802, his grandson, Hugh Barton, teamed up with his friend Daniel Guestier, a French shipowner, to create Barton & Guestier. Both men's children and grandchildren went into the business, until the mid-20th century. Today, a dedicated team and over a hundred distributors continue to develop the Barton & Guestier brand worldwide. Barton & Guestier wines are widely recognized throughout the world as wines of excellent quality and tremendous value. The list of wines has also grown to include a broad range of classics from the greatest wine regions of France.

    Languedoc-Roussillon

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    An extensive appellation producing a diverse selection of good-quality and value-priced wines, Languedoc-Roussillon is one of the world’s largest wine-producing region, spanning the Mediterranean coast from the Spanish border to Rhône. Languedoc forms the eastern half of the larger appellation, while Roussillon is in the west; the two actually have quite distinct personalities but are typically grouped together. Languedoc’s terrain is generally flat coastal plains, with a warm Mediterranean climate and a frequent risk of drought. Roussillon, on the other hand, is defined by the rugged Pyrenees mountains and near-constant sunshine.

    Virtually every style of wine is made in this expansive region. Dry wines are often blends, and varietal choice is strongly influenced by the neighboring Rhône Valley. For reds and rosés, the primary grapes include Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Cinsault, and Mourvèdre. White varieties include Grenache Blanc, Muscat, Ugni Blanc, Vermentino, Maccabéo, Clairette, Piquepoul and Bourbelenc.

    International varieties are also planted in large numbers here, in particular Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. In Roussillon, excellent sweet wines are made from Muscat and Grenache in Rivesaltes, Banyuls and Maury. The key region for sparkling wines here is Limoux, where Blanquette de Limoux is believed to have been the first sparkling wine made in France, even before Champagne. Crémant de Limoux is produced in a more modern style.

    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.

    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 with Cabernet Franc.

    SWS82805_1999 Item# 38307