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Flat front label of wine

Foley Estate Winery La Cuesta Merlot 1999

Merlot from Central Coast, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    The acclaimed La Cuesta Estate Vineyard is located on an elevated portion of the Solvang property noted for its southward facing slope and gravelly chemise soil. The old vines on this hillside vineyard struggle to produce fruit. In their struggle, highly concentrated flavors develop in blueberry size grapes resulting in a complex, award-winning wine. Aromas of blackberries and spice are complemented by subtle hints of blueberries, cherries, and toasted oak. Full bodied, the wine is well balanced with a velvety structure and long wonderful finish. Enjoy with Lamb, beef, and assorted pasta dishes.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Foley Estate Winery

    Foley Estate Winery

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    Foley Estate Winery, Central Coast, California
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    Foley Estates Vineyard & Winery at Rancho Santa Rosa is the realization of vintner Bill Foley's dream to produce world class Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in Santa Barbara County. A historic parcel located in the Santa Rita Hills region of the Santa Ynez Valley, Rancho Santa Rosa was formerly a thoroughbred horse ranch. In 1998, Bill purchased the 460-acre property and planted to 230 acres of vineyard. Devoted to Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah, the vineyard has been subdivided into 59 micro-blocks with each being farmed, harvested and vinified separately. The handsome stables have been refurbished to house the winery, with tremendous detail going into the planning of a modern facility, while honoring age-old winemaking tradition. Highly regarded by leading wine critics and sommeliers, Foley’s Burgundian-influenced portfolio has become a flagship property in the South Central Coast.

    Central Coast

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    The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces the majority of the state's wine. The sprawling district covers most of the vineyard land between San Francisco and Santa Barbara from the coast 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 Monterey, Paso Robles, Santa Ynez Valley, Santa Maria Valley, and Santa Cruz Mountains.

    Just about every major international grape variety is planted within this vast AVA, from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay to Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. A significant proportion of the region’s produce is generic, inexpensive bulk wine, but the Central Coast is also home to many small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as everything in between.

    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. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, 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 and Cabernet Franc.

    PIM15407_1999 Item# 56799