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Ty Caton 2008 Upper Bench Merlot

Ty Caton 2008 Upper Bench Merlot

What We Say 2008 Upper Bench Merlot


Great Merlot is a deeply special varietal, and today’s deserves special this recognition


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Mission Codename: Ty and Ty Again

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Return to Ty Caton Vineyards to retrieve Ty’s delicious 2008 Sonoma Valley Merlot

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Ty Caton Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2008 Upper Bench Merlot, Sonoma Valley, Caton Vineyard

Winemaker: Ty Caton


The Sonoma Valley AVA is one of the oldest wine growing regions in California with the first vines being planted in the early 1800s. The AVA is located along California Route 12 and its eastern boundary are the southern end of the Mayacama mountains. The unique micro-climate with less rainfall and fog than other parts of the region along with its unique soil provides ideal growing conditions for Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Beautiful garnet-ruby color with the tiniest pinkish rim. Stained tears show off the intense concentration of color, and thick, medium-slow legs move down the side of the glass.

Smell – Rich, elegant nose of black and red cherry, raspberry, boysenberry syrup, and chocolate-covered cherry. Slight hints of cherry pipe tobacco and dried leaves.

Feel – Smooth and round, medium to full bodied with lovely balance of acidity and fruit; finishes with a slight drying along the gum-line and a warmness at the back of the palate.

Taste – Rich, tart and ripe red fruits give way to more lush black cherry and boysenberry, ending with chocolate, cherry and a hint of dark spice.

Finish – Medium long finish as those full red and black fruits mellow into more of the cherry tobacco and chocolate covered cherry. Low tannins make the finish simple and fruity.

Conclusion – The 2008 Ty Caton Sonoma Valley Merlot is a delicious wine with plenty of character. The wine is warm, fruity, mellow and round with low tannins that make it just as delicious alone as it is with a meal. Try with pork loin with fruit compote or duck with cherries.

Mission Report:



WINE EDUCATION: Various classes at UC Davis, most importantly on the job training.

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Minimal intervention – our goal is to let the grapes tell their own story without intervening

WINEMAKER QUOTE: Actively Seeking Excellence



AGENT RED: Greetings, Ty. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Merlot today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

TY: Thanks, Agent Red. It’s nice to be working with you, again.

RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

TY: Wine tasting in Napa with my cousins.

RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

TY: Peter Mathis of Ravenswood

RED: Who do you make wine for?

TY: I’m a pleaser by nature – I enjoy entertaining people and wine is intricate part of the socialization process, which I love!

RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

TY: The Merlot is Estate produced wine from our Upper Bench area in the vineyard. It’s not a typical Merlot – we call it a “Cab drinker’s Merlot.” It’s a Merlot disguised as a cab. It’s complicated & has a lot going on.

RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

TY: Lamb

RED: In your opinion, what makes the Sonoma Valley so special?

TY: Its Diversity

RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

TY: Right now we are preparing the wine for racking.

RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

TY: These wines are somewhat of a cross over – they can be sipped by themselves or enjoyed with a meal.

RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

TY: Our vineyard grapes are grown certified sustainable through Farming For Flavors grape growing program.

RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Ty Caton Vineyards & winery can be seen in this satellite photo.

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What the Winery Says Ty Caton

Ty Caton
Ty Caton

About This Wine:

This extraordinary Merlot greets the nose with rich aromas of black cherry followed by a lush mouth feel with layers of flavors including blackcurrant, plum and a touch of chocolate. Combine these flavors with soft and supple tannins and a long silky smooth finish and you have an unforgettable and sumptuous Merlot.

About The Winery:

Ty Caton Vineyards is dedicated to creating wines of distinction with an authentic sense of place. Our commitment to excellence begins in the Caton Vineyard, where Winemaker Ty Caton sustainably farms all of the grapes used in our Sonoma Valley wine. As one of the few exclusively estate producers in Sonoma Valley, California, Ty personally works with the grapes from soil to glass. He handcrafts his wines in small lots with an acute awareness of the land that enables him to make wines that truly showcase the vineyards. Ty Caton Vineyards is forging a new definition of quality in winemaking and Actively Seeking Excellence.

About The Vineyard:

CATON VINEYARD – Located in the foothills of Sonoma Valley, the Caton Vineyard is defined by its sustainable farming and belief that healthier vineyards produce very unique and distinctive wines. The vineyards have multiple sun exposures, soil types, and vary in altitude over 300 feet between each other. Our meticulous farming practices showcase the love for our land and our passion for the wines that come from it.


We achieve wines of authenticity by working with nature to showcase the true flavors of the grapes. Ty Caton personally manages the entire winemaking process, from planting the vines, to farming the grapes, to making the wine here in Sonoma Valley. By using exclusively estate grown grapes he is able to have complete control over the process and personally tend to the wine from soil to glass. His acute awareness of the land enables him to make wines that show the great potential of the vineyard site.

Ty Caton’s philosophy is that wine is a natural product and should be treated as such. His winemaking uses limited intervention, which allows the wines to speak for themselves and import the true expression of the vineyard. He ferments with wild yeast that naturally occurs in the grapes so that the wines are manipulated as little as possible. As a Sonoma Valley winemaker and grape grower he strives to produce the ‘wow factor’ by creating wines that are bold, highly extracted and beautifully structured. Ty Caton believes that blending is an art form and uses master blending techniques to combine different grape varieties and clones to create wines with many layers of complexity in aroma and flavor. By allowing the grapes to show their true character and enhancing it through blending, Ty Caton is forging a new definition of quality in Sonoma Valley winemaking.

Technical Analysis:

Varietal: 82% Merlot, 12% Syrah, 6% Petite Sirah

Appellation: Sonoma Valley

Region: Estate Grown, Caton Vineyard

Alcohol: 14.9%

Production: 403 Cases

Vintage: 2008

Ty Caton 2008 Upper Bench Merlot 750ml Wine Bottle
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Ty Caton 2008 Upper Bench Merlot 750ml Wine Bottle
Offer Expired Apr 08, 2010 at 11:59 pm
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