Schug Carneros Estate
2006 Heritage Reserve Merlot
California: Carneros - Los Carneros (Napa)
Phormer Phelps Phenom
This wine caused a sensation at our most recent Wine Spies tasting panel. Very highly recommended, today’s wonderful Merlot is really a perfect holiday wine.
Rich, juicy, elegant and evolved, this wine is perfectly balanced and perfectly aged making it a ready-to-drink sensation that will please any who have the good fortune to drink it. At today’s very special price this wine is impossible to resist.
Very food friendly, pair this wine with a roast duck with cherry sauce or veggie kabobs with green pepper, mushrooms, onions and pineapple. Enjoy this wine now, but be sure to cellar a few bottles for the next few years.
Dark crimson at the core, transitioning a band of brickish color. At the very edge of the glass, a very fine ring of pink encircles the glass.
Bold, lush aromas leap from the glass, even before lifting it to the nose. The wine exudes complex, warm, and rich aromas of spice, stewed winter holiday fruit, leather, cinnamon, and a hint of dark chocolate.
Youthful and bright, this concentrated wine leads with blueberry and underripe plum. With time to breathe, the wine offers up additional flavors of leather, tobacco and a subtle hint of black pepper.
Ultra-long and lingering finish with flavors of dried cherry and dried blueberry. Residual flavors cover the palate just before a gradually spreading dryness spreads to the lips and cheeks.
What the Winery Says
Our Heritage Reserve Merlot is blended in the Bordeaux tradition using Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon for maximum complexity. The Merlot is sourced from the cool Carneros region, where the extremely long growing season allows this varietal to ripen slowly, developing maximum varietal character and depth of flavor while retaining bright acidity. It has a spicy bouquet of lavender and mint, rich deep color and full-bodied.
BLEND: 91% Merlot (Sangiacomo, Ricci, and Rancho Salina Vineyards) 3% Cabernet Franc (Rancho Salina Vineyards) 5% Cabernet Sauvignon (Rancho Salina and Atwood Vineyards) 1% Malbec (Rancho Salina Vineyard)
APPELLATION: 86% Carneros; 14% Sonoma Valley
AGING / COOPERAGE: 22% aged in new French oak barrels 6% aged in new American oak barrels 72% aged in 1 to 4 year old French and American oak barrels
ALCOHOL: 13.5% by volume
ACIDITY: TA = 0.59 g/100ml; pH = 3.49
PRODUCTION: 447 cases
About the Winery
Founded in 1980, Schug Carneros Estate Winery is the showcase and life-long dream of one of California’s most celebrated winemakers. Walter Schug’s reputation blossomed during his tenure as Founding Winemaker for Joseph Phelps Vineyards in the 1970s, where he made California’s first proprietary Bordeaux-Style blend (Insignia) and legendary vineyard designated Cabernets (Bacchus and Eisele Vineyards).
Drawing on his long experience in the production of fine wines in both Europe and California, Walter set up his own winery with his wife Gertrud in the cool, marine climate of the Carneros Appellation. Here he could focus on the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay varietals that had always been close to his heart.
In 1995 Sonoma-born winemaker Michael Cox came on board at Schug. Trained in Enology at UC Davis, Mike worked in several Californian wineries before he was lured from Napa Valley to Carneros - Sonoma, to work with Walter Schug as his assistant winemaker. One year later he was promoted to Winemaker and placed in charge of the day-to-day winemaking duties, where he remains today.
Schug Carneros Estate Winery combines old world understanding and tradition with modern winemaking techniques. By using only the finest grapes available, and maintaining the best winemaking values, these wines have gained acceptance worldwide as true contemporary classics.
About The Winemakers
Walter Schug, Winemaker - A native of Germany’s Rhein River valley, Walter Schug was raised in Assmannshausen, on the region’s only Pinot Noir estate. He marked his first harvest in 1953, apprenticing at all nine of the famed wine estates of Hessen, in the Rheingau region of Germany.
In 1959, after finishing his studies with a diploma in Viticulture and Enology at the prestigious German wine institute of Geisenheim, Walter left for California. He spent a year expanding his knowledge while working at a winery and taking extension courses at UC Davis. Two years later, he returned to California for good, with his wife Gertrud, to work as the Assistant Superintendent at California Grape Products Corporation. In 1966 Julio Gallo asked him to be the family’s Head of Grower Relations and Quality Control for Northern California. Gallo’s involvement on the North Coast led Walter to become acquainted with over 600 independent growers and several thousand acres of prime vineyards in Napa, Sonoma and Mendocino County.
By 1973, Walter’s experience was sought out by Joseph Phelps to establish Joseph Phelps Vineyards in Napa Valley, and that year began his 10 vintages as Vice President and Winemaker for the new enterprise. Among Walter’s many contributions to the Napa Valley’s newly emerging fame were:
- California’s first proprietary Bordeaux-Style blend (Insignia)
- Legendary vineyard designated wines (Bacchus and Eisele Vineyards)
- The first varietal Syrah in the US.
- Pioneering late harvest dessert wines (Gewurztraminer, Riesling, Scheurebe)
By 1980, however, there was little market in California for Pinot Noir, and Phelps ceased production of the varietal. Reluctant to stop working with the grape of his childhood home and firmly believing in its future, Walter came to an arrangement with Joseph Phelps that he would continue his regular work at the winery, yet produce Pinot Noir under his own private label.
Three years later, Walter’s private project had grown to such an extent that he made the decision to leave Phelps and concentrate on the Schug brand. Since then the winery has grown from a 2,000 case production to 30,000 cases a year. In June 2003 Walter celebrated his 50th harvest, an achievement which very few in California can claim.
Today as Winemaster, Walter continues to oversee the production of consistently great wines, along with winemaker Michael Cox.
Michael Cox, Winemaker - A Northern California native, Winemaker Michael Cox grew up in Sonoma and spent time in both the Sonoma and Napa wine producing regions as a student. His local head start gave him an enviable background that most young winemakers find very difficult to achieve.
Mike first attended the University of California at Los Angeles, studying chemical engineering and working in a wine cellar during the summer. It was then that his love for wine surfaced and took him down another road. In order to become a member of the wine industry, he transferred to the U.C. Davis campus and graduated with a degree in Enology in 1991. Mike also took advantage of coming home from school each summer to work at Sonoma area wineries, gaining good solid experience every step of the way. He worked his way up through the cellars of two prestigious wineries, Hacienda and Dry Creek Vineyards, during and after he finished school. His first full Winemaker position was at DeMoor Winery in 1992. Mike likes to work closely with growers and prefers small production vineyards that contribute unique qualities to his blends. The Carneros grapes Mike works with at Schug offer unrivaled wine-making opportunities due to their unique diversity and complex, well-developed flavor characteristics.
In the cellar, his focus is on staying abreast of current winemaking developments. He favors progressive use of the newer technologies available to winemakers today, such as the Voll Tauchers, hydraulic punch-down fermenters that automate the process of gently punching down the cap during fermentation. Mike also has the impressive ability to manage the hundreds of separate lots stored in the cellars before blending, including the judicious adaptation of specific barrel coopers to specific vineyard lots, in order to emphasize the terroir.
As Winemaker, an important member of the Schug family team, Mike works closely with Winemaster Walter Schug and Sales & Marketing Director Axel Schug. Together their winemaking talents create the premium Carneros and Sonoma wines with the European flair that Schug is famous for.