This Merlot is grown at Winesap Vineyards, which is located in The Rocks District AVA. Merlot down in the Rocks has tremendous potential. Just the right amount of heat to ripen properly, which a touch of earthiness and minerailty.
Winesap Vineyard with grass cover crop
We harvested our lot of fruit on 10/23. This is when the chemistry looked the best and also had physiological ripeness at its peak. With the extremely high pH of merlot from The Rocks I wanted to allow this fruit to get a little more ripe with more potential ending ABV (Learn more from our Winemaking Videos).
Brix 25 - pH 3.95 - TA 4.5 g/L
After the fruit was harvested, it was de-stemmed (but not crushed). It went on to cold soak for 24 hours before inoculation of BM 45 yeast strain. The cap was punched down 3 times per day to break up skins and to gain maximum extraction.
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All of these wines were harvested at different times. Syrah is an early ripener whereas Grenache and Mourvedre tend to be later ripeners.
The Grenache and Mourvedre vineyards were picked specifically for this wine. DuggerCreekis ideally suited for ripening Rhone grapes and I love Mourvedre from Rockgardenand The Rocks. We knew we'd have an extra barrel of Les Collines Syrah for this blend, but that specific barrel was hand picked to make sure the balance was perfect.
The Mourvedre was saignee to concentrate colors, flavors, and aromas. There was a 48 hour cold soak to extract more anthocyanins from the skins before innoculation. All three wines were fermented and aged separately and blending happened 3 months before bottling to lets the flavors meld together.