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Concannon Reserve Merlot 2001

Merlot from Central Coast, California
  • WE91
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

Merlot with attitude! This bottling shows depth of color, spicy cherry smoky flavors, and firm tannins. Enjoy with sirloin steak and creamy Yukon Gold mashed potatoes.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 91
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Concannon

Concannon

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Concannon, Central Coast, California
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A historic and once-famous Livermore winery, Concannon was bought and sold several times in the 1980's by large conglomerates that were purchasing each other. Each sale resulted in a loss of focus, and the brand suffered. In 1992 Eric Wente of Wente Vineyards saved it from the jaws of destruction by assembling a group of eight investors to buy the winery. However, Concannon Vineyard is a totally separate company in both ownership and operation from Wente Vineyards.

Nestled amidst the vineyards and rolling hills along the Livermore Valley, Concannon has been widely recognized for crafting full-flavored, complex and award-winning wines. Ocean air pours through the Golden Gate each afternoon cooling the influence of the sun, and enabling the grapes to develop both the ripe sugars and firm acids that fine wine demands.

Concannon is perfectly positioned geologically, atop a 600-foot-deep bed of gravelly soil. These rocks require the vines to drive their roots deep into mineral-rich deposits, and it also keeps the grape and cluster size in moderation.

More than 140 of Concannon's 200 Livermore estate acres are Petite Sirah plantings grafted onto improved rootstocks. Over the decades, they have carefully tuned their planting and trellising to take full advantage of the unique terroir. The result: intensely flavored, memorable wines vintage after vintage.

Central Coast

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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.

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.

SWS68746_2001 Item# 75621