95 points. Great Value. Excellent. Highly recommended. California State Fair – Vintage 2013
91 Points, Gold, “Best of Class” – Consumer Wine Awards, 3.22.2014 – Vintage 2012
93 Points, Chairman's Trophy, Excellent - Ultimate Wine Challenge, 6.1.2013 – Vintage 2011
181 is classic Merlot, offering softer tannins than Cabernet Sauvignon, but equal elegance and concentration. It opens with aromas of black cherry, vanilla and toasty spice. Fresh fruit flavors of currant and cherry mingle gently with spicy cedar and vanilla. The wine is supple in texture, full bodied, long and well-balanced on the palate, with a lingering finish. With a gentle balance of tannins and acidity, it is the perfect companion to pasta with sausage and roasted peppers or a pan seared steak with mushrooms and parsley.
Beyond the Numbers
Vine types perform at their best when they are put to work in the type of soil and climate from which they were born. The clay soil and temperate Mediterranean climate of our Clay Station Vineyard on a breezy knoll in Lodi make this a perfect California home for the vaunted Merlot 181 vine stock from Pomerol, France. 181 Merlot vine stock is used to thick, silty soils that hold their moisture from winter rains into the growing season. Like Bordeaux, Lodi offers stone “cobbles” over a layer of clay red soil. These soils allow for deep root penetration and a stable vine during times of low moisture and heat. This allows the roots to “reach out” and establish a balanced vine.
Lodi produces Merlot fruit of exceptional quality due to warm, dry springs and well-balanced crop load. Moderate summer weather and warm temperatures just prior to harvest allow the grapes to gradually ripen gently, delivering outstanding fruit. In the winery, we ferment at moderately cool temperatures to balance bright acidity with big fruit flavors.