Gold Medal - 2014 California Zinfandel Championship
Discussions about the top wines of California are usually centered around Napa Valley, with perhaps some time spent on Sonoma or Santa Barbara. However, grapes are grown all over the state, and sometimes lesser known regions can really shine. One of the most obscure vineyard areas must the Hyampon Valley, in Trinity County (Population: 13,448) a good two to three hours north of Sonoma and Napa. Here the R Merlo Estate vineyard sits on 45 acres nestled between majestic redwood-covered coastal mountains that reach as high as 8,000 feet above sea level. With a climate and growing season completely different from that found in the rest of California, this is truly a unique wine, and a must try.
The 2011 R Merlo Zinfandel is deep ruby/garnet in color, with a brooding nose of dark berries, plum, baking spice, and candied fig. The palate is brighter, with cherry, berry, and strawberry held together with a core of bright acidity. Medium bodied and with persistent fresh berry flavors on the finish, this could pair effortlessly with a wide range of foods, almost like a heavier pinot noir. A lovely zin, at a price that makes it a perfect daily drinker.
Aging: American Oak for 12 months
Acid/pH: .59 / 3.6
Alcohol Content: 14.5%
Release: March 2012
Production: 750 Cases