Calluna Aux Raynauds Merlot 2008
Sleek and structured, with spicy oak and black cherry aromas and layered plum, graphite and dried rosemary flavors that finish with ripe but firm tannins.
Calluna Vineyards took root in Sonoma County in 2005 with 12-acres in the Chalk Hill appellation planted to the traditional Bordeaux grape varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. From its advantageous hillsides overlooking the Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill is known for its mild climate and soils of clay underlain with fractured shale and sandstone.
The goal for Calluna Vineyards is to make wines which have the strength of great Bordeaux, but with the attributes of Sonoma terroir. This means that the wines are meant to have the intensity, balance and longevity inherent in Bordeaux wines, but they should have an additional richness and roundness which is typical of the best Napa and Sonoma wines.
The vineyards are ideally situated to achieve this goal: The Chalk Hill appellation is in a moderate, transitional climate between the cool Russian River appellation and the hot Alexander and Napa valleys. The fruit can reach full phenolic ripeness - all herbaceous, vegetal tones are gone - without excess sugar development. This allows Calluna to make the wine in a natural way, without the additions of water and tartaric acid which are so common in California winemaking today.
David A. Jeffrey is the winemaker and founder. After 20 years of studying and collecting the wines of Bordeaux and California, David moved to the West Coast and enrolled in Fresno State's Enology program in 2001. Determined to make his dream a reality, David spent 3 years studying winemaking and grape growing as he completed his degree and worked at Chateau Quinault in Bordeaux, France.
"Calluna" is the botanical name for the heather plant that grows on the property in memory of an extended family member.
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.