Hook & Ladder
2009 Estate Bottled Merlot
Russian River Valley
The Roof Division
A wonderful, budget-friendly surprise, today’s 2009 Hook & Ladder Estate Bottled Merlot is a delightful wine that our tasting panel really enjoyed.
This flavor-filled Merlot has plenty of structure, but it is also very approachable and very food friendly. With a bright acidity, this wine is a very flexible companion for even the most complex pairings. We enjoyed ours with spicy Italian Sausage ravioli with a spicy Arrabbiata sauce. The acidity of the Merlot was the perfect palate cleanser, between bites.
Merlot is made for food, and today’s wine is an obvious, affordable choice for even your most complex dishes. That said, though, we have to say that this wine is also just as excellent all on its own.
Enjoy this delicious wine now, but be sure to cellar a few bottles for the next several years. It should continue to improve with proper aging.
Dark burgundy with a dense, darker core. The wine is perfectly clear and dark at its heart. Concentrated color is maintained, out to a fine maroon band at the edge of the glass. When swirled, skinny, wine-stained tears glide swiftly down down the glass.
Deep and really lush, with dark ripe fruit, spice and earth that jump from the glass. Ripe blackberry, red currant, earthy black cherry, dried violets and plum are layered over subtle, sweet brown spice, softly toasted oak, subtle mushroom and hard blackberry candy.
Ripe and flavorful, this dark wine delivers wave of black fruit, spice, minerals and burnt sugar. Concentrated black cherry, blackberry and stewed black plum lead the way. These are followed by Bing red cherry, black tea, sweet spice, cigar box, subtle leather and a hint of pencil shavings (graphite and cedar).
Long and very flavorful, with black fruit giving way to red fruit, spice, and pencil shavings. As flavors dwindle, the palate and the cheeks take on a mineral-rich dryness that gradually spreads throughout the entire palate.
What the Winery Says
Our hand-picked Merlot is gently de-stemmed and crushed to both closed and open-top fermentors. When the color, flavors and tannins are fully extracted from the skins, the wine is aged for a minimum of 17 months in both European and American oak. This Merlot is combined with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon from our adjoining vineyards to bring added structure and complexity. A full mouth of blackberry and chocolate-raspberry with hints of spice, plum and tobacco lead to a lingering black cherry finish.
Cases Produced: 914
Leg of lamb or any pasta with a tomato sauce.
About the Winery
In 1970, San Francisco firefighter Cecil De Loach and his wife Christine staked their claim in the wine grape business by purchasing 24 acres of old-vine Zinfandel in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. For several years they watched others make notable wine from their grapes before making the decision to produce wine under the De Loach label in 1975. More than three decades later, Cecil and Christine sold that label and have continued their winemaking skills at the helm of Hook and Ladder Vineyards, a small family winery that employs a simple philosophy – craft exceptional wines, from the highest quality grapes, that people love to drink. We consider each step of the winemaking process an opportunity to showcase the distinctive flavors contained within our carefully cultivated grapes.
Winemaker Jason De Loach
Jason De Loach was introduced to the wine industry in the customary way; physical labor. As a young man at De Loach Vineyards he eventually worked his way into the cellar. At the age of eighteen he became involved in harvest, crush, and later on became Production Coordinator as well.
After cutting his teeth at De Loach, Jason moved up to the title of Cellar Master for Balletto Winery, where he oversaw and operated a significant portion of the winemaking process. With commitment to his craft, Jason soon was named Assistant Winemaker under renowned winemaker Dan Cedarquist.
Keeping with the tradition of his grandfather, Jason attended viticulture classes, and then took courses in enology from the University of California at Davis. After helping produce a number of gold medal winning wines at Balletto, Jason returned to his family roots at Hook and Ladder in 2006. There he began as Cellar Master and soon became Winemaker.
Jason has been producing outstanding wines ever since; having his pick of the very best fruit from over 400 acres of vineyards farmed by his grandfather Cecil De Loach for over 30 years, Jason continues to generate exceptional wines.
On 375 acres situated in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, our vineyards produce cool climate grapes widely recognized as some of the finest in the world. Grape growers of the early 1900’s recognized the sites of our vineyards as being uniquely suited for wine grape growing. Building on their knowledge and experience, we have matched the soil and climate of each parcel with the varietals most likely to achieve its full potential.
Sustainable Framing Practices
Hook and Ladder Winery has taken a number of steps not only to preserve but also to promote the natural environment of Sonoma County.
Cecil and Christine De Loach have included 118 acres of their vineyards properties in the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District. These properties include an oak woodland which, unlike many parts of Sonoma County, are regenerating well.
A number of years ago we started an oak tree nursery to provide an in-house source of native oak trees to be used in our environmental projects. Along with our infant oak trees we do not cut down healthy, mature oak trees, we simply make them an integral part of our vineyards.
In dealing with the animals that share vineyard land with us we have implemented a number of creative and environmentally conscious techniques such as barn owl boxes and raptor perches which promote natural predator-prey relationships and reduce the need for environmentally harmful pest control techniques.
We practice integrated pest management and use only the most environmentally safe chemicals, those that kill the pest and do not affect any other life.
Hook and Ladder Winery makes a special effort to preserve our most important agricultural resource, water. We are constantly vigilant of the creek, stream and river ways and their ecosystem, never allowing the vineyard edge to impose on them. We take steps to avoid the contamination of waterways with soil, sediment, or pesticides.