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Echelon Merlot 2000

    750ML / 0% ABV
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    • WE85
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    Currently Unavailable $8.99
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    750ML / 0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    While it is never easy getting grapes to mature perfectly, the 1999 vintage was a little more challenging than most. The cooler coastal vineyard sites in normal years allow for slow maturation, but the 1999 growing season was colder than usual. Luckily, the crop size was small. This fact was the vintage's salvation. Even an average size crop would not have ripened. This year's wine benefited from blending a significant amount of Cabernet Sauvignon from some of the warmer and riper vineyard site. In a curious reversal of the usual pattern, some of the highest quality red wines were from some of the warmer regions in 1999. The art of blending played a significant role this year. One of the nice things about Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, and the other Bordeaux varietals is that they take well to each other in a blend.

    The flavor profile is classical, with the Merlot giving the red berry freshness and a hint of herbs, while the Cabernet pulls it together with a darker plum-like fruit and the typical cedar. Like all the Echelon wines, the oak flavors are in the background, with the fruit flavors occupying the foreground. Merlot has the structure to stand up to almost any food. It has enough tannins to pair well with meats such as lamb or duck, and is delicate enough to serve with pasta dishes.

    -Larry Brooks, Consulting Winemaker

    Critical Acclaim

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    Echelon

    Echelon Vineyards

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    Echelon Vineyards, California
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    Combining the best fruit from friends’ and neighbors’ vineyards, Echelon produces serious wines for everyday drinking. To obtain this exceptional fruit, Echelon pioneered the development of long-term contracts with growers in emerging regions, including areas within California’s Central Coast and the Clarksburg appellation’s Esperanza Vineyard. Echelon’s winery is located in San Miguel, in the heart of the Central Coast, near many of its vineyard sources. This state-of-the-art facility enables Echelon to take advantage of the latest technology throughout the winemaking process.

    Echelon’s superb grapes and gentle winemaking result in fresh, fruit-forward wines. Beautifully balanced and pleasingly complex, these impressive premium wines are easy on the palate and the budget.

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    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.

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    Merlot

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    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot can be made into a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the best wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol where it is blended with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly from California’s Napa Valley.

    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.

    MNC4843F_2000 Item# 50932