Thursday, October 15, 2009

18 year old California Merlot

Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard Proprietor/Winemaker Jeff Emery fills a barrel

Several days ago, I polished off the remains of a 1991 Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard Merlot. Lots of acid, lots of presence, lots of sediment. Not a lot of wood, not a lot of alcohol (12.5%), not a whole lot of depth. Overall, though, the winning traits of the wine carried the bottle to the "like it" side of my memory. Intense red and dark plum, cherry, and just the barest hint of a sweet herbal, almost eucalypt like element were harmonizing nicely together. This particular bottling actually contained 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Cabernet Franc from Bates Ranch, which is more familiar to me than the source of the Merlot here, Jankris Vineyard. According to the notes on their website, this is likely the best Merlot the winery ever made.

As I've stated many times before, the better wines from the Santa Cruz Mountains age as well as (if not better than) wines from from anywhere else in California. Of course Montebello is one of the wine world's greats, but you don't need to pay Montebello prices for Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard wines. I'd love to experiment with some other older Santa Cruz Mountain Vineyard bottlings. Anyone in the Bay Area game for a tasting?


David McDuff said...

Are you selling these library vintages at the shop, Joe, or are you buying them direct from the winery?

Florida Jim said...

'Had a 1995 Cronin, Pinot the other day which showed really well. SCM has always had long lived wines (or so it seems) and the work that Rhys is doing now should elevate the AVA even beyond past glories.
Best, Jim

Joe Manekin said...

DMcD - We have occasionally purchased cellars at work with the odd bottle of SCMV wines in them. This particular bottle, however, was from a customer who cleaned out his locker and gave us a bunch of wine he said that he did not want!

Jim - was the '95 Cronin PN the Peter Martin Ray vineyard bottling, or Central Coast? Need to try some Rhys wines, that is long overdue.