Paso Robles AVA, San Luis Obispo County, California
Showing the most fruit upon release, with the potential to improve over the next five years.5 Years
Delicious with summer grilled sausages or herb-roasted chicken.
The third in a trio of strong vintages for Paso Robles, the wines of 2014 are showing dense and aromatically expressive, with high ripeness levels reminiscent of 2004. With less than half of the usual winter rainfall in the ground, spring growth rocketed as degree days racked up at a faster pace than we’ve seen in a decade. A somewhat warm veraison period at the end of July pushed tannin levels upward and led to the earliest picking dates on record for most of our vineyard blocks. Achieving sugar ripeness was never in question in this warm vintage, but we certainly benefitted from the J. Lohr “early water deficit” farming practices that hasten seed ripeness and achieve early phenolic maturity. The exceptionally fine tannins of the 2014 Los Osos Merlot have this wine showing quite well upon release.
Traditionally, we harvest our estate-grown Merlot grapes across a range of sugar ripeness. The early picks usually capture the classic varietal definition of Merlot, while the fruit harvested later adds depth and intensity to the wine. Clone and rootstock combinations, along with variations in soil, add complexity to our Los Osos Merlot, as does the introduction of Italian clones. We grow our Merlot grapes in the moderately cool El Pomar district of Paso Robles which is generally acknowledged to be an ideal area for this variety. Planted on Nacimiento-Los Osos, Arbuckle-San Ysidro, and Arbuckle-Positas complex soils, these well-drained but relatively poor soils limit vine vigor and support wine quality.