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Matthiasson Red Hen Vineyard Merlot 2011

Merlot from Sonoma County, California
    13.5% ABV
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    13.5% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The wine is 100% Merlot from the historic Red Hen Vineyard nestled into the crook of Dry Creek on rocky soil. The wine is very structured — more cabernet-like — but has the richness and aromatic profile of Merlot. The intense cherry and chocolate aromas are a trademark of the vineyard, and are always balanced by notes of tea and earth.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Matthiasson

    Matthiasson

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    Matthiasson, California
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    Winemaking for us is a natural extension of farming, and most of our grapes come from the seven vineyards that we farm in Napa and Sonoma. We love to explore classical expressions of different varieties, some well-known like Chardonnay or Cabernet Sauvignon, and some rare like Ribolla Gialla or Refosco Dal Peduncula Rosso. In all cases we try to respect the purity of the variety and the individuality of the site. Our wines are refreshing, complement food, and are moderate in alcohol. By using our site-specific farming methods to grow intense fruit, coupled with careful restraint in the cellar, we strive to produce wine that is full flavored but impeccably balanced.
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    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.

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    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot can be made into a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the best wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol where it is blended with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly from California’s Napa Valley.

    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.

    RVLMH11ME_2011 Item# 141393