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Purple Cowboy Night Rider Merlot 2010

Merlot from Central Coast, California
    13.4% ABV
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    13.4% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    Teeth-staining dark red with hints of purple. Dazzling aromas of crushed black cherries and plums with rose petal, cola and a hint of smoked caramel. Mouth-filling flavors of cherry pie and cassis with silky, cocoa powder tannins on the long finish. Smooth and full-bodied.

    Try with slow-cooked, smoky barbeque, chili, chicken-fried steak, long-simmered pinto beans, Texas-style Coq au Vin and all your other favorite foods at home on the range.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Purple Cowboy

    Purple Cowboy

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    Purple Cowboy, Central Coast, California
    The grapes for Purple Cowboy come primarily from Paso Robles, the largest appellation in San Luis Obispo County on California’s famed Central Coast. Over the years, Paso Robles was known for producing structured Cabernet Sauvignon. More recently, a group of winemakers known as the Rhone Rangers has garnered attention with Syrah, a grape well-suited to this warmer region. The Paso Robles AVA is sometimes called Cowboy Wine Country, a reference to its historic identity as a ranching and farming area. Daytime temperatures often top 90 Degrees, but in the evening the vines are cooled by fog cascading down the eastern slope of the Santa Lucia range which separates Paso from the Pacific Coast. Purple Cowboy is sourced from the eastern half of the AVA which is warmer, drier and typically produces full-bodied wines with rich fruit character, soft tannins and balanced acidity.
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    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.

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    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.

    NDF417197_2010 Item# 126908