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BEHIND THE VINES
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. A warm and dry summer allowed for the crop to fully ripen. The harvest period remained warm with moderate cool nights that allowed us to pick the grapes at optimum flavor development, delivering outstanding fruit. The grapes are picked in the cool of the evening, destemmed, and slowly warmed to fermentation temperatures. In the winery, we ferment at moderately cool temperatures to balance bright acidity with big fruit flavors.
181 Merlot is a classic Merlot with aromas of blackberry, vanilla and cocoa nibs, mingled with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg spices. The subtle flavors of ripe plum and blackberry help bring smoothness to this full-bodied wine with soft tannins.
Enjoy this wine with easy dishes such as pasta with sausage, burgers fresh off the grill or a portabella mushroom burger with all the trimmings. Roasted seasonal vegetables with fresh herbs are an excellent match as well.
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