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Marilyn Napa Valley Merlot 2011

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    Winemaker Notes

    The 2011 vintage Marilyn Merlot is the 27th release of this fine wine. It is a straight Merlot this year. The wine was aged in 100% oak barrels, 35% of which were new for this vintage. Aromas of Ripe Strawberry and cherries, primarily thyme and lavender complement the oak components of vanilla and smoke from the wood. Moderate alcohol and good acidity make this wine a good pairing with fine foods. Vineyard locations for this wine are from our longtime growers in Yountville and Oakville regions of the Napa Valley.

    Critical Acclaim

    Marilyn

    Marilyn

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    Marilyn, , California
    Marilyn
    Marilyn Wines traces its origins to 1981, when a small group of friends started making wine at their home near St. Helena in the Napa Valley. One evening in 1983, over dinner and a bottle of homemade merlot, the concept of "Marilyn Merlot" was born. The wine enjoyed a good deal of popularity around the valley and was often donated to charity auctions and given as Christmas gifts.

    In 1985, the playful idea and the fine wine that bore its name led to the limited production of Marilyn Merlot for sale to the public. Over the 25 years, continuing acclaim from critics, collectors, and lovers of fine wine have led to the production of Marilyn Merlot, Marilyn Cabernet, Norma Jeane, the Velvet Collection, Marilyn Blonde de Noirs, Marilyn Red Dress, and Marilyn Sauvignon Blonde, and Marilyn Meritage.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    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/or 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 can be bold and fruit-forward or restrained and earthy, while New World facsimiles tend to emulate the former style. In general, Bordeaux red blends can 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, the New World is free to experiment. Bordeaux blends in California may include Syrah, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, or virtually any other grape deemed worthy by the winemaker. In Australia, Shiraz is a common component.

    GZT10031577_2011 Item# 128136

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