This complex, artisanally crafted wine offers classic Merlot spice, ripe cherry fruit, and cocoa aromatics which persist on the palate. The balance of wood and black fruits creates a velvety, seductively smooth finish.
-Ray Einberger, Winemaker. Vineyards:
Grand Estates Merlot is harvested from vineyards located predominantly on the Horse Heaven Hills (which contributes texture and body) and the Wahluke Slope (for aromatics and complexity.)
Columbia Valley vineyards are seated east of the Cascade Mountain range. Up to 14,000 fee high, the mountains effectively block eastward-moving wet weather systems from the Pacific Ocean.
Just 6 to 8 inches of rainfall reach the growing region annually. Vineyards are 100% drip irrigated.
The soils have low fertility and low water-holding capacity, allowing precise control of vine growth patterns.
Vines are planted north to south on south and southeast-facing slopes.
Grapes were crushed with 20% whole berries remaining.
Grapes fermented on skins for 6-7 days with stainless steel and open top, rotary, and standard fermenters used to extract softness, complexity, and color.
Malolactic fermentation occurred in the barrels and tanks.
Wine aged 14-16 months.
The oak regime featured 25% new French and American oak barrels.
Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon contributed softness and further fruit dimension to the final blend.