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Lyeth Red Meritage 2009

Bordeaux Red Blends from Sonoma County, California
    13.9% ABV
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    13.9% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    This wine's blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot contributes to its unique flavor. Deep in color, this wine is rich with aromas of dense purple fruits, brambly, blueberry and boysenberry, with notes of leather, tobacco, dark chocolate and cedar. Flavors of fresh strawberries and boysenberries are lush and pronounced on the palate, followed by hints of roasted coffee and maple. This is a big wine that is well-structured and has a long finish. Excellent when served with rich and robust foods, such as bold cheeses and game.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Lyeth
    Lyeth, Sonoma County, California
    Established by Chip Lyeth in 1981, Lyeth was one of the first wineries in California to pursue the unique complexity and composition achieved by the marriage of Cabernet Sauvignon with the other major Bordeaux varieties, now known as the Meritage style. The term "Meritage" (pronouced like "heritage") is a combination of the words "merit" and "heritage".

    Lyeth became a founding member of the Meritage Association in 1988, which created the Meritage concept as a means of identifying blends produced in the Bordeaux style. Today it continues the tradition of blending family and tradition in its wines, winning praise from critics and consumers worldwide.

    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.

    Bordeaux Blends

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    One of the world’s most classic and popular styles of red wine, Bordeaux-inspired blends have spread from their homeland in France to nearly every corner of the New World, especially in California, Washington and Australia. Typically based on either Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot and supported by Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, these are sometimes referred to in the US as “Meritage” blends. In Bordeaux itself, Cabernet Sauvignon dominates in wines from the Left Bank of the Gironde River, while the Right Bank focuses on Merlot. Often, blends from outside the region are classified as being inspired by one or the other.

    In the Glass

    Cabernet-based, Left-Bank-styled wines are typically more tannic and structured, while Merlot-based wines modeled after the Right Bank are softer and suppler. Cabernet Franc can add herbal notes, while Malbec and Petit Verdot contribute color and structure. Wines from Bordeaux lean towards a highly structured and earthy style whereas New World areas (as in the ones named above) tend to produce bold and fruit-forward blends. Either way, Bordeaux red blends generally have aromas and flavors of black currant, cedar, plum, graphite, and violet, with more red fruit flavors when Merlot makes up a high proportion of the blend.

    Perfect Pairings

    Since Bordeaux red blends are often quite structured and tannic, they pair best with hearty, flavorful and fatty meat dishes. Any type of steak makes for a classic pairing. Equally welcome with these wines would be beef brisket, pot roast, braised lamb or smoked duck.

    Sommelier Secret

    While the region of Bordeaux is limited to a select few approved grape varieties in specified percentages, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include equal amounts of Cabernet Franc and Malbec, for example. Occassionally a winemaker might add a small percentage of a non-Bordeaux variety, such as Syrah or Petite Sirah for a desired result.

    LNI2LYRESR309_2009 Item# 112323