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Flat front label of wine
Flat front label of wine

Estancia Merlot 2002

Merlot from Central Coast, California
    0% ABV
    • WS87
    • WS86
    All Vintages
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    Winemaker Notes

    An elegant marriage between fruit and oak. Aromas and flavors of cherries and plums are balanced by a toasty oak character that adds depth and complexity.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Estancia

    Estancia

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    Estancia, Central Coast, California
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    Estancia, based in Monterey, was founded in 1986. The name Estancia is roughly translated from the Spanish word for "estate," and emphasizes our conviction that the world's best wines capture the essence of their place of origin. At Estancia we control the process from the start—from the trials in our experimental vineyard blocks, to planting, harvesting, fermenting and aging the wines. We've built a winery that allows us to devote the same attention to detail in winemaking that we give to our grapes. We use open-top fermenters and small basket presses for our Pinot Noir and new red-wine fermentation tanks that are fit for the diverse blocks in our Paso Robles vineyards. It is this hands-on crafting of the wines, from grapes to bottle, that result in our superior wine quality.

    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.

    SWS76142_2002 Item# 79944