Mission Codename Mer-lot not Mer-little
“Our motto is Family Farmers First.” Says Alison Smith-Story.
Today’s wine is an insider tip reserved only for the most discerning and boutique loving operatives out there. And anyone who loves “super appealing” fruit forward, complex, age-worthy, structured, powerful Merlot.
Husband and wife team, Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story started their winery with a Kickstarter campaign asking for a modest $25k in 2014. And they have been rocking epic wine and their amazing story ever since (pun 100% intended).
And it’s not just any story either! With experience in wine distribution and wholesale management, they knew what they were getting into. But the pandemic put a hurt on the business as you can read here. And after being named Top 10 Tasting Room Alison got more bad news - a diagnosis of Breast Cancer in March 2021. She graciously has shared her journey with beautiful honesty on their blog called “The Chapters.” But it’s not all doom and gloom - she celebrated being cancer free earlier this year!
No wonder she was named one of Wine’s Most Inspiring People!
As far as the wine itself, they are SUPER picky (pun #2, thank you very much) about the vineyards they work with and Pickberry Vineyard is a favorite from Sonoma Mountain for all the cool kids. Schug, Ravenswood, and Tin Barn Winery also do single vineyards from Pickberry.
“This is a strong set of wines from Eric Story and Alison Smith-Story. The 2017s benefit from an extra kick of richness…” says Anthonio Galloni. He also points out that, “The 2017 Merlot Pickberry Vineyard offers a super-appealing combination of forward, juicy fruit and the savory undertones that are such signatures of this Sonoma Mountain site.”
Which is why we fell in love with it! We taste a lot of Merlot and very few have impressed us with such a balance of lush fruit and the extra complexity and depth that many lack. This one is pumped full of blackberry, cranberry and blueberry pastry. Juicy red plum, sage, vanilla and freshly tanned leather join the party, and velvety tannins wrap it all up in a soft, seductive texture. With brilliant acidity to round it out, this wine will age beautifully.
Fair warning - we have far less of this one than the usual offer. Make haste!
92 Points – Anthonio Galloni’s Vinous
“The 2017 Merlot Pickberry Vineyard offers a super-appealing combination of forward, juicy fruit and the savory undertones that are such signatures of this Sonoma Mountain site. Lavender, rose petal, mint, dried herbs and blueberry fruit give this mid-weight Merlot so much pure appeal. Drinking Window:2022 – 2032”
90 Points – James Suckling
“Aromas of baked plums, ground spice and red licorice. Medium-bodied with silky tannins. Fresh and cool on the palate with a grounding note of suede. 4 Stars”
What the Winery Says
2017 Pickberry Vineyard Sonoma Mountain Merlot
- Consulting Winemaker
- Katy Wilson
- Eric Story & Alison Smith Story
- 100% Merlot
- Sonoma Mountain, Sonoma County
- Pickberry Vineyard
- Gravelly loam, volcanic
- 20 months
- 25% new French oak