Mer Soleil Late (half-bottle) 2004
Mer Soleil began in the late 1980s, with a journey to the central coast of California in search of ideal conditions to plant Chardonnay. Our first vineyards were in the Santa Lucia Highlands, a small but exceptional appellation about a 30-minute drive from Monterey. With morning fog, bright sunshine and howling gusts of afternoon wind, the region’s dramatic weather leads to an extended growing season, enabling us to make wines with distinctive aromas and flavors.
In addition to our Reserve Chardonnay from the Santa Lucia Highlands, we recently introduced a Reserve Pinot Noir, also from the Santa Lucia Highlands. Our SILVER unoaked Chardonnay comes from Monterey County – it is fermented and aged in a combination of stainless steel and concrete tanks. We also offer a Reserve Chardonnay from Santa Barbara county, where slightly warmer temperatures than in the Santa Lucia Highlands create subtle differences in the wine. Mer Soleil is led by owner and winemaker Charlie Wagner, who is passionate about how all these wines celebrate the California coast.
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.
Apart from the classics, we find many regional gems of different styles.
Late harvest wines are probably the easiest to understand. Grapes are picked so late that the sugars build up and residual sugar remains after the fermentation process. Ice wine, a style founded in Germany and there referred to as eiswein, is an extreme late harvest wine, produced from grapes frozen on the vine, and pressed while still frozen, resulting in a higher concentration of sugar. It is becoming a specialty of Canada as well, where it takes on the English name of ice wine.
Vin Santo, literally “holy wine,” is a Tuscan sweet wine made from drying the local white grapes Trebbiano Toscano and Malvasia in the winery and not pressing until somewhere between November and March.