What We Say 2004 Merlot
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes even better than that, as is the case with today’s wine from Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate.
Mission Codename: Malibu Merlot… Merlot Malibu
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Get our hands on the latest release from Rosenthal.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate
Wine Subject: 2004 Newton Canyon Merlot
Winemaker: Christian Roguenant
But did you know that the unique climate of Newton Canyon in the foothills of northern Malibu also provide the idea conditions to grow Cabernet Sauvignon? Network Canyon is a single vineyard AVA on the south-facing slopes of the Santa Monica Mountains and was formally designated in 1996.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Intense dark purple with garnet edges with long slender legs when swirled. This wine is also inky in clarity.
Smell – Medium intensity with ripe fruit flavors of blackberries, dark cherries, boysenberries, oak and spice. As this wine opens up, you’re treated with a hint of vanilla.
Feel – Full-bodied, smooth and dry, but with well structured tannins and bright acidity that enhances the tart fruit.
Taste – Big, solid, but well integrated fruit flavors of blackberries, ripe blueberries and cherries and a complex layers of oak, vanilla and spice.
Finish – Long lingering finish that lingers with its fruit, oak and spice components.
Conclusion – This Merlot is an exceptional wine that shows a distinct structure, solid fruit, well integrated spice and oak that will please even the most discerning palates. This wine is perfect to enjoy either by itself or as a complement to a great meal of grilled meats, pasta and even the sharpest of cheeses. We enjoyed this exceptinal wine with some great P. Jacquin Selles Sur Cher goat cheese, crudités and fresh figs and pears.
Long time operatives know that while most of California’s great wines hail from Napa, Sonoma, Monterey and even the Central Coast region, there exists a fine winery, just a few miles up PCH from downtown Los Angeles in the hills above Malibu. At Newton Canyon AVA, only one winery grows grapes. This area while hundreds of miles south of the premier growing regions in California is know for having the ideal climate for Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.
It is this 2004 Newton Canyon Merlot that is the subject of today’s wine. Rumor had it that after the difficult 2003 vintage that Malibu was back. 2004 was a great year in Napa, and indeed other parts of California, but in Malibu too? Most definitely! Our inside asset Agent Blanc had smuggled a couple bottles of Merlot out early in the year with specific instructions. Do not reveal this vintage until I get formal notice to you. Just to be careful, I removed the labels from the bottle. I couldn’t compromise the wine or Agent Blanc.
The bottles of Malibu Merlot were immediately taken to the lab for full analysis. The tasting panel went crazy after tasting it. Arguing that this must be a Napa wine, others arguing this must be a Sonoma wine, all agreeing however, that this Merlot in particular had something special about it. Something indescribable, an elegance, complexity and richness not usually seen in Merlot.
Blind tastings are fun, especially when you are the only one that knows what your drinking with and the others do not. It was hard to keep my mouth shut. Not even Agent Blush knew the reality of this exceptional Merlot. (Its hard for me to keep anything from Blush; for she is trained in the most intense interrogation techniques given her previous work behind the lines in the DPRK.)
Just last week, in an urgent wire, Agent Blanc said we could reveal the truth behind the Merlot. When I informed those who had tasted the wine that this was the latest release from Rosenthal, nobody questioned it, instead, they knew the truth. Exceptional wines are the norm in Malibu. And this Malibu Merlot is no exception.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate’s Newton Canyon Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Rosenthal - The Malibu Estate
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Awards & Accolades:
Double Gold – Eastern International Wine Competition, New York
Double Gold – Tasters Guild Wine Competition, Michigan
Gold – Florida State Fair International Wine Competition
Highly Recommended – Beverage Testing Institute, Chicago
Six Silver Medals in Major Competitions
Winery’s Tasting Notes:
Low-yield hillside fruit contributes to a richness and complexity not seen in “standard” Merlots. A full yet supple wine, with hints of black cherry, plum, mocha, exotic spices, and a kiss of oak. Bright berry fruit, elegant middle palate, and a lingering finish, with elegant, well-integrated tannins.
About the 2004 Vintage:
After a difficult 2003 spring, the 2004 harvest was everything one could want from flowering to harvest — beautiful warm, dry days, with cool nights keeping everything in balance.
This Merlot exhibits what are now becoming signature characteristics of our estate vineyard.
About Rosenthal – The Malibu Estate:
Fine wine from Malibu? Southern California’s Malibu, home to movie stars and Bay Watch?
Yes, these wines are from grapes grown in Malibu not on the famous beach, but in a scenic valley four miles from the coast, 1,400-feet up, above the coastal fog, in the AVA Malibu Newton Canyon.
George Rosenthal, owner of movie studios, hotels, and other enterprises, first planted vineyards at his 250 acre estate in 1987, after spending two years checking soil and weather to make sure he planted the correct varietals in the correct locations.
25 acres of hillside vines are planted in this unique microclimate, where cool breezes filter into Newton Canyon in the evening, tempering warm, sunny days. Even with this boutique size, individual plots of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc are separately vinified and barrel-aged before blending.
Winemaker Christian Roguenant strives to bring out the unique terroir of the site. The reds are unfiltered and unfined, and the Chardonnay does not go through ML. All the grapes come from the estate vineyards.
Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Chardonnay can be enjoyed in some of LA’s toniest restaurants, and some of Hollywood’s top stars have sipped the wines at the estate.
You may not be able to wrangle an invitation to the vineyard (then again, you might), but you can now enjoy these wines at your own – estate”.
Brix at Harvest: 25.2
Total Acidity: .68
Blend: 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon 100% Estate Grown
Oak: Seguin Moreau château barrels — Allier and Tronçais, medium toast, 19 months
AVA: Malibu – Newton Canyon
Case Production: 770