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.
2017 brought a return of generous rainfall to our vineyards following an unprescedented 5-year period of drought throughout California. Budbreak occurred in the first week of April, followed by the “grand- growth” period and bloom in the middle of May. Crop set for merlot was better than average, with yields approaching 5 tons per acre for the season. Early September brought temperatures as high as 115 degrees on the California coast. We remained patient as brix levels spiked following this unprecedented heat wave, and left the crop to ripen on the vine until we began harvesting during the last days of September. The fruit came in with higher levels of flavor ripeness than we had seen since the great string of vintages from ‘12 to ‘14. Our house style incorporates a full 16% Malbec in the 2017 Los Osos Merlot bottling, and captures vibrant red-fruit characters with notes of violet and hibiscus flower in the blend.
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 of Merlot. We grow our Merlot grapes in the moderately cool El Pomar district of Paso Robles, which is generally acknowledged to be the ideal area for this variety in the Paso Robles AVA. 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.