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McIntyre Kimberly Vineyards Merlot 2011

Merlot from Central Coast, California
  • WE90
14.5% ABV
  • WE92
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14.5% ABV

Winemaker Notes

Dark and concentrated, this standup Merlot offers plenty of red currant, cedar and crushed violet character with entrancing hints of dried herbs. This is an opulent Merlot that will benefit from years of proper age as its supple tannins integrate and soften.

Pair with grilled prime rib or a chipotle onion-topped Angus burger.

Critical Acclaim

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WE 90
Wine Enthusiast
A real delight for its delicious drinkability, and a revelation for Monterey Merlot. Shows the acidity and varietal purity of the Arroyo Seco region, with intense plum and blackberry flavors balanced by a rich earthiness. Editors' Choice.
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McIntyre

McIntyre Vineyards

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McIntyre Vineyards, Central Coast, California
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The McIntyre estate vineyard is located in the central section of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Originally planted by the McFarland family in 1973, it boasts some of the Highlands oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. A 1979 Pinot Noir from the vineyard, under the Stony Hill label, is still regarded as one of the finest early varietally-labeled Pinots from the district.

Early bud break and fruit set are one of the advantages of McIntyres highland location. Mid-season leaf pulling and other canopy management techniques help focus the vine's efforts. Harvest on the McIntyre estate typically begins in mid-September and can run to late October. The McIntyre family employs sustainable viticultural practices on the home estate, through the use of biodiverse systems and cover crops.

Central Coast

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The largest and perhaps most varied of California’s wine-growing regions, the Central Coast produces a good majority of the state's wine. This vast district stretches from San Francisco all the way to Santa Barbara along the coast, and reaches inland nearly all the way to the Central Valley.

Encompassing an extremely diverse array of climates, soil types and wine styles, it contains many smaller sub-AVAs, including San Francisco Bay, Monterey, the Santa Cruz Mountains, Paso Robles, Edna Valley, Santa Ynez Valley and Santa Maria Valley.

While the region could probably support almost any major grape varietiy, it is famous for a few. Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel are among the major ones. The Central Coast is home to many of the state's small, artisanal wineries crafting unique, high-quality wines, as well as larger producers also making exceptional wines.

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.

WWH128364_2011 Item# 126050