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Korbin Kameron Merlot 2014
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
Moonridge Vineyard is a family endeavor. On a drive through the Sonoma Valley, Mitchell, Jenny along with their children Kristin, Korbin and Kameron - came upon a homestead hovering high above the valley floor, so high that the land lived above the clouds. The house looked over acres and acres of rolling hills, wild with nature. And in that idyllic scene, they saw their dream of working together and creating quality wines from the estate.
After many years of planning, turning, planting and nurturing the land, their first harvest and Moonridge Vineyard was born. The wine brand, Korbin Kameron, is named after their two twins. The vineyard, located on a 186 acre property on Mount Veeder, embodies the best trait of each member of the family: know-how, determination, creativity, vision, compassion and exuberance. Though they are new to the enterprise of winemaking, they have relied upon their acumen and experience in business and fashion to craft quality Bordeaux varietal wines and create lasting family memories.
One of their greatest strengths is to find the expertise and experience of others like a great vineyard manager, Phil Coturri, as well as an experienced veteran winemaker, Bob Pepi, and craft it so that it fits their vision of quality. Most importantly, the family learns and grows together.
Covering the western slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, facing the city of Sonoma, Moon Mountain District is one of Sonoma’s newest sub-appellations. Here the well-drained, red volcanic and ash soils produce hauntingly intense red wines, mainly from Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux varieties.
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.
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.
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.