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2007 Schug Merlot, Sonoma Valley

Schug Carneros Estate
2007 Merlot, Sonoma Valley

Gold Medal & Best of Class - Pacific Rim Wine Competition

Regular WineHeist customers are no doubt familiar with Schug Estate, founded in Carneros by Walter Schug over 30 years ago.  While Carneros is probably best known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, in the early days of this region, much of it was planted to Bordeaux varieties like Cabernet and Merlot.  As the winemaker for Joseph Phelps in the 1970s, Walter Schug clearly knows his way around the grapes of Bordeaux, and he has kept the tradition of these grapes in Carneros alive at Schug.  Since Carneros is cooler than Napa, the resulting Bordeaux style wines tend to be lighter bodied and more elegant, which perfectly suits the winemaking at Schug.

The 2007 Schug Sonoma Valley Merlot is actually a Bordeaux-style blend, with 14% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Cabernet Franc added into the blend to add depth and richness.  This Merlot is light ruby in color, with a hint of garnet.  The nose shows cherry, plum, and blackberry aromas, accompanied by a hint of briar and spice.  The palate is tight and focused, with red and black fruit joined by a spicy, almost earthy side.  Plenty of acidity carries through on the finish, where a subtle chocolate flavor is framed by a hint of new oak.  The generous acidity makes this an ideal food wine, perfect for grilled lamb or milder sausage.  At under $20 a bottle this is the perfect red wine to stock up on, as it will pair well with a range of foods and has the elegance to drink well during the warmer months, while it has enough stuffing to serve in the winter as well.

Appellation:   Sonoma Valley
Harvest Dates:  September 7th through October 29th, 2007
Sugar at Harvest:   24.6 degrees Brix average
Fermentation: 12 days in stainless steel tanks, pumped over three times daily
Aging Cooperage:   Aged 24 months in 20% new oak barrels: French, Hungarian, and American
Alcohol:   14.0% by volume
Acidity:  0.63 g/100ml; pH = 3.45
Release Date:  November 1st, 2010

Tasting Notes PDF PDF

2008 Spring Mountain Sauvignon Blanc
It’s a little hard to believe with all the rain we’ve been having in Northern California, but summer is just around the corner, and it’s definitely time to start thinking about white wines for the warmer weather.  There is no shortage of light, refreshing, high acid white wines out there to choose from when you are just looking for a warm-weather quaffer, but when you want something with a little more depth and complexity, things get a bit more challenging.  Especially if you are not a fan of Chardonnay, or just need a change of pace, it can be challenging to find a dry white with a little more depth.  Luckily, we were able to secure an allocation of the 2008 Spring Mountain Estate Sauvignon Blanc, which beautifully expresses a Bordeaux-style white wine, with the attending richness and complexity, and also delivers plenty of fresh California fruit.

The 2008 Spring Mountain Estate Sauvignon Blanc is medium straw in color, with classic Sauvignon Blanc aromas of lime, apple, and fresh cut grass.  The lively, spicy palate shows lemon peel, green apple, key lime, and even a hint of cucumber.  Fermented in neutral French oak, and with 13% Semillon in the final blend, this wine has plenty of body and structure, yet bracing acidity keeps it light and refreshing.  With all of the spicy, herbal elements in this wine it’s a natural match for salad, where the acidity cuts through the olive oil beautifully.  Try it with fennel for an intriguing match, or pair with simply prepared fish with fresh herbs.  This versatile wine is one you will want to be drinking all summer, and with WineHeist pricing, you can!

About The Winery...

Founded in 1980, Schug Carneros Estate Winery is the showcase and life-long dream of one of California's most celebrated winemakers. Walter Schug's reputation blossomed during his tenure as Founding Winemaker for Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the 1970s, where he made California’s first proprietary Bordeaux-Style blend (Insignia) and legendary vineyard designated Cabernets (Backus and Eisele Vineyards).

Drawing on his long experience in the production of fine wines in both Europe and California, Walter set up his own winery with his wife Gertrud in the cool, marine climate of the Carneros Appellation. Here he could focus on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals that had always been close to his heart.

Learn more at

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