Sterling Merlot Vintner's Collection 750ml Tasting Notes: Inviting and immediately enjoyable, the Merlot welcomes the nose with bright cherry, blackberry and vanilla aromas counterbalanced with subtle cherry-cola notes. On the palate, mouth filling cherry-berry tannins fold together with rich flavors of blackberry pie and juicy plum to offer a nice, rounded mouthfeel and a long finish. The generosity of this wine pairs well with a variety of dishes from slightly spicy Mexican food to good ol? home-cooked chicken pot pie. Vineyard Notes: A majority of the grapes come from the Paris Valley Ranch vineyard in Monterrey, situated in the southern end of the valley. Running north to south from the cool, pacific waters of the Monterrey Bay, the valley floor warms during the day drawing in the ocean breeze over the vineyards in the evening. These are ideal conditions for the sun-loving Merlot, enabling the development of ripe, concentrated fruit during the day balanced with good acid development at night. The remainder of the grapes come from Paso Robles, imparting rich bing cherry notes and a subtle finesse. Production Notes: Central Coast Winemaker Notes: From beginning to end, the 2005 vintage gave us ideal temperatures at just the right times. Heavy winter rains dominated the dormant months and continued through early spring, delaying bloom and berry set. Summer temperatures were desirably mild, with a few heat spikes. Fog and cool temperatures slowed sugar accumulation through most of September, and then a short heat spell at the end of September gave us the bump we needed to start bringing in the Merlot. We harvested these grapes under ideal conditions right through the end of October. We expect this vintage to be one of the best of the decade.