Frei Brothers Reserve Merlot 2000
Frei Brothers Sonoma Reserve has been a part of the fabric of Sonoma County for over a century. After coming to California from his native Switzerland, founder Andrew Frei first established vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley in 1890. His two sons, Walter and Louis, eventually took over and adopted the name Frei Brothers. They successfully ran the winery for over 70 years.
The beautiful Frei Brothers vineyards caught the eye of Julio Gallo soon after the repeal of Prohibition. He began using the site as a vineyard source for the rapidly growing E. & J. Gallo Winery. Once Walter and Louis had both retired in the late 1970s, the Gallo family purchased Frei Ranch. They have since further developed the vineyard to become what it is today.
Their long history in Sonoma County has allowed us to form long-lasting connections with their growers — some relationships dating back as much as 70 years. Among these partners are some of Sonoma County’s oldest winegrowing families, farmers who have been cultivating their vineyards and perfecting their techniques over generations. Led by their passionate winegrower, Scott Johnsen, we work hand in hand with their vineyard managers and growers to select the best sites for each of their varieties. The result is exceptional fruit grown in its ideal place, which allows their winemakers to craft complex wines with immense clarity of flavor.
When Scott joined Frei Brothers 14 years ago, he found himself at home among the vineyards on the historic, 125-year-old Frei Ranch. “I love that at Frei Brothers, we get to carry on the legacy of stewardship of the environment and quality of product that many generations have created,” said Scott. Scott also found himself at home in Sonoma County, a place that fully embodies all the best qualities he’s grown to love about California.
Not only is Sonoma County beautiful, it also offers ideal conditions for growing their vines. We craft their award winning wines by working closely with vineyard managers and growers to carefully select the ideal sites for each grape variety. This allows us to source only the fruit that is best suited to its region. Their winemakers can then showcase the true varietal character of each grape, bringing the Heart of Sonoma County to each glass.
Certified California Sustainable Winegrowing.
Home to a diverse array of smaller AVAs with varied microclimates and soil types, Sonoma County has something for every wine lover. Physically twice as large as Napa Valley, the region only produces about half the amount of wine but boasts both tremendous quality and variety. With its laid-back atmosphere and down-to-earth attitude, the wineries of Sonoma are appreciated by wine tourists for their friendliness and approachability. The entire county intends to become a 100% sustainable winegrowing region by 2019.
Grape varieties are carefully selected to reflect the best attributes of their sites—Dry Creek Valley’s consistent sunshine is ideal for Zinfandel, while the warm Alexander Valley is responsible for rich, voluptuous Cabernet Sauvignon. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are important throughout the county, most notably in the cooler AVAs of Russian River, Sonoma Coast and Carneros. Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Syrah have also found a firm footing here.
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.