92 Points, Best of Class - 2015 California State Fair
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.
Nestled in far Northern California’s Hyampom Valley, far away from the tourists in Napa Valley, Merlo Family Estate is quietly making some of the most unique wines in California. The climate of the valley allows them to produce deeply flavored red wines that are beautifully balanced, and also very well priced given the difficulty of farming this land.
The 2012 Merlo Family Estate Zinfandel is deep ruby in color, with aromas of vanilla (from the use of American oak), berry, ripe plum, blackberry, and blueberry. The palate echoes the enticing blue fruits from the palate, with juicy berry flavors joined by notes of fig and baking spice. Exotic tropical fruit and a mild floral note linger on the finish. With good acidity for Zinfandel, this wine is ideal for serving with a slight chill in the waning days of summer, or decanted and served with roasted meats as the weather cools.
Aging: American Oak for 12 months
Acid/pH: .59 / 3.6
Alcohol Content: 14.2%
Release: March 2014
Production: 750 Cases
Raymond Merlo Family Vineyards is located along the banks of the wild and scenic South Fork of the Trinity River and at the base of South Fork Mountain, the longest contiguous ridge in the continental United States. This wholly unique setting helps create wines that speak to the power and beauty that is Hyampom Valley. Influenced by the idyllic growing season and climate of this small pocket valley, the fruit produced in the Merlo Family Vineyards expresses a strong sense of place. Based on the concept that quality wine is grown in the vineyard, a minimalist approach is taken in the cellar, allowing the wines to clearly reflect the varietal character and distinct terroir of Hyampom Valley.
Merlo Estate Vineyards produces a rare collection of richly flavored and expressive wines. Unlike many California wines, these deep, complex wines are not high in alcohol, nor overripe in flavors. Rather, the wines are naturally big and bold, yet refined and beautiful.
Learn more at www.merlovineyards.com.