What We Say 2006 Desnudos Vineyard Merlot
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Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Infiltrate Bartholomew Park Winery in Sonoma, California. There procure their sought-after Single Vineyard Desnudos Merlot for our Merlot-loving Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Bartholomew Park Winery
Wine Subject: 2006 Desnudos Vineyard Merlot
Winemaker: Keith Emerson
Associate Winemaker: Jessica Koga
Backgrounder: To true wine lovers, Merlot is one of the finest wine varietals in the world. Today, Merlot continues to sell in record numbers across the US, outpacing most other varietals. Merlot is a sincere, food-fabulous wine for serious wine drinkers. Today’s wine raises the bar for Sonoma Merlot, by delivering a delicious, complex, fruit-forward wine with plenty of complexity
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, Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Darkest garnet hues, with a deep, inky heart. Color is evenly concentrated, but at the edge of the wine, a lovely ring of brickish red runs a wide ring around the wine. After swirling, chubby, slow-moving, wine-stained tears move very slowly down the glass.
Smell – Lush and heady, with layers of fruit, spice and savory character. At first, a bold rush a jammy blackberry, black cherry and raspberry leap from the glass. Black currant, black plum, braised fig and spiced blueberry follow on. As the wine breathes, it begins to reveal additional aromas of leather, cigar box, cocoa and dried fall leaves.
Feel – Soft and lightweight at the tip of the tongue. Then, the wine slowly digs in, spreading a dark, mineral-laden dryness to the far corners of the palate. Plush tannins and a dark acidity combine to frame the fruit, driving flavors to the far corners of the palate.
Taste – Dark black cherry, blackberry, black plum, braised fig and black currant take lead, here. After a moment, when the wine settles onto the palate, it reveals softly spiced cherry candy, dark leather, dried fall leaves, toasty oak, sweet brown spice and a hint of slate minerality.
Finish – Very long and filled with dark fruit. Slowly, the fruit fades, eventually replaced by spice and earthy characteristics. At the very end, a soft, slate-mineral dryness is ushered in by a hint of black pepper.
Conclusion – Keith Emerson once again impresses us with his winemaking prowess. Not only is his skill reflected in today’s 2006 Bartholomew Park Desnudos Vineyard Merlot, but the vineyard and the fruit should also receive equal credit. Today’s Merlot is a terrific example of how, when everything works, this varietal can really shine. Plush and delicious, the dark fruit balances just perfectly against the wines more earthy characteristics. Slate, dried leaves, leather and spice are such a lovely counterpoint to the juicy dark berries and stonefruit. Merlot is almost always a great compliment to a fine meal and this wine is a delightful example of this quality. We paired ours with Moroccan stew, served with spiced lamb kabobs. Each sip complimented the meal while providing a delicious cleanse of the palate, between bites. Enjoy this highly recommended wine now and lay a few bottles down for the next several years.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Keith Emerson
WINE EDUCATION: University of California at Davis
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Cakebread Cellars before joining Gundlach Bundschu. In 2004, worked a harvest at Palliser Estate in Martinborough, New Zealand
WINEMAKER QUOTE: “My goal as a winemaker is to tell the story of each vineyard site”
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Bartholomew Park Winery winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Bartholomew Park Winery
About This Wine:
Aromas of dried red currant dusted with coffee and toasty spice are followed by a smooth palate of dark, lush berries and hints of sweet cocoa on the finish. This medium-bodied Merlot has silky, rounded soft tannins and rich fruit character that make it approachable and food friendly now, with the ability to age gracefully.
Rich, dark aromas and flavors of coffee, cocoa and black plum compote, with touches of strawberry, tobacco and nutmeg. Lush tannins and well-integrated acidity give the wine a rich, silky mouthfeel and excellent length. Soft and approachable on its own, or pair with roast lamb, braised short-ribs or coffee-crusted pork loin.
Vineyard Notes: Volcanic, rhyolitic ash mixed with sandy loam; Southwest facing; Vineyard planted in 1989.
About The Winery:
Nestled on a historic, organically-farmed estate just a few blocks east of Sonoma’s plaza is Bartholomew Park Winery.
We hand-craft boutique quantities of single-vineyard wines offered exclusively in our tasting room and website.
Founded in 1994 with a vision to produce handcrafted, site-specific wines, Bartholomew Park’s 37-acre Estate Vineyard is located at the base of the Mayacamas Mountain range in Sonoma Valley. The unique setting of this vineyard, tucked up against Arroyo Seco, enjoys, warm temperatures, constant breezes and excellent drainage typical of higher elevation sites.
This treasure trove of an estate vineyard has been completely replanted in recent years, is farmed organically, and received organic certification in 2005. Bartholomew Park Winery works closely with Vineyard Manager Phil Coturri to ensure that handwork in the vineyard and in the cellar translates to a faithful expression of this ancient alpine range and its historic vineyard site.
These wines are sold exclusively through our tasting room and wine club.
First planted in the 1830s, Hungarian nobleman Agoston Haraszthy purchased the property in 1857 and christened it “Buena Vista.” Many consider his first vintage the birth of the California wine industry. More of a visionary than businessman, however, Count Haraszthy was forced from the property for financial reasons in 1867. The land changed hands several times before being sold to Frank Bartholomew, the pioneer journalist and president of United Press International, in the early 1940s.
Frank and his wife Antonia Bartholomew resumed growing grapes and making wine on the property, resurrecting the Buena Vista label. Their first vintage in 1947 signaled the beginning of a fruitful 20-year “hobby.” In 1968, after years of success, they sold the brand name and the original 15-acre winery site, keeping more than 400 acres and the estate vineyards for themselves. The Bartholomews devoted their sunset years to their passion for the wines and history of their property, even creating an exact replica of Count Haraszthy’s villa. Upon their passing, a foundation was set up to keep the property wine and vineyard related in perpetuity.
The current Bartholomew Park Winery was founded in 1994, with a vision to produce handcrafted wines reflective of the grand history and unique character of this estate. Though the winery is relatively young, the Bundschu family has been growing grapes and making wine on their nearby Rhinefarm Estate since 1858, and embraced the opportunity to honor and advance the tradition of this site. The historic winery building and gardens have been fully renovated, and the 37-acre estate vineyard completely replanted, and Bartholomew Park Winery has embarked upon a mission to produce vineyard-specific wines which are among the finest in North America.
Ageing: Aged 15 months in French oak barrels, 35% new
Wine Type: Medium Red Wine
Varietal: 83% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Harvest Date: September 2006
Production: 700 cases produced
Acid: .64 g/100 ml
Aging: 4-8 years