Schweiger Vineyards Merlot 2011
Situated at an elevation of 2,000 feet with rich volcanic soil and a unique microclimate, the Schweiger family realized the potential for successful wine production. The laboring process to clear the heavily forested property began in 1979.
During the two years of clearing, old redwood hand-split stakes were discovered spaced a meter by a meter, reaffirming the stories that the area was once a prime viticultural area in the 1880's. With a "hands on" approach, the Schweiger family laid out and planted the 34 acres of Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon in 1981.
Schweiger Vineyards was successful from the beginning with the first harvest in 1984 bringing great demand for grape contracts from Cafaro Cellars, Stags' Leap Winery, ZD, and other highly esteemed wineries. In 1994, Schweiger Vineyards received its bonded winery permit and kicked off their first release of Chardonnay in the fall of 1995. This was followed a year later with the release of the 1994 Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
Schweiger Vineyards is a family operation, with each family member contributing different areas of expertise in the winemaking process. The family prides itself on growing, producing, and bottling their handmade estate wine with extreme measures of care.
Above the town of St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains sits the Spring Mountain District.
A dynamic region, its vineyards, cut by numerous springs and streams, vary in elevation, slope and aspect. Soils differ throughout with over 20 distinct types inside of the 8,600 acres that define the appellation. Within that area, only about 1,000 are planted to vineyards. Predominantly farmed by small, independent producers, the region currently has just over 30 wineries.
During the growing season, late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes reach the Spring Mountain vineyards, which sit at between 400 and 1,200 feet. Daytime temperatures during mid summer and early fall remain slightly cooler than those of the valley floor.
Spring Mountain soils—volcanic matter and sedimentary rock—create intense but balanced reds with lush and delicate tannins. The area excels with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and in some cooler spots, Chardonnay.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.