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Fritz Merlot 1997

Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    0% ABV
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Another classic Bordeaux varietal from the eastern side of our Dry Creek Valley property, comes this totally approachable Merlot. Although the vines are still somewhat young, the combination of fragrant Cabernet Franc and Merlot succeeds in a delicious and elegant offering. The wine begins with a spicy nose and brilliant ruby color while the black cherry flavors explode in the palate. Fragrant with toasty oak, the flavors are dark, deep and smooth. The wine concludes with a lingering satisfying finish, which makes the connoisseur want for more of this superb classic.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Fritz

    Fritz Underground Winery

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    Fritz Underground Winery, Sonoma County, California
    Guided by his vision of creating a small family winery specializing in handcrafted, limited-edition, wines, Arthur "Jay" Fritz built a radically designed subterranean facility high upon a hill in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County. With offerings from both the Dry Creek and Russian River Valleys, Fritz is particularly distinguished for their vineyard designated Chardonnays.

    Sourced from some of the most sought after parcels in the Russian River and Dry Creek Valleys, these single-vineyard wines reflect consultant Helen Turley's signature approach of extreme vineyard management and artisan winemaking.

    The exceptional benefits of unique terroir represented by discreet blocks of vines, combined with quality-driven vineyard practices, result in extraordinary fruit. The winery's unusual three-tiered gravity flow design virtually eliminates pumping and ensures juice devoid of harsh phenolics. Over 200 linear feet of caves stretch into the hillside, providing ideal aging conditions for the reds.

    The commitment to quality, from vineyard to bottle, is the hallmark of Fritz wines.

    Sonoma County

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    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.

    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.

    WWB24341_1997 Item# 17380