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Tucker 2007 Merlot

2007 Tucker Merlot, Carneros Appellation

After a particularly dry winter the Carneros spring was also dry, with moderate weather through May. That was followed by cooler than normal summer with no prolonged heat spikes. This weather pattern allowed for an extremely long growing season, which enabled the fruit to mature slowly and develop intensity and concentration. The grape clusters were carefully thinned and the leaf canopy controlled to enhance sun exposure.

The harvest came in late October when the grapes were just beginning to wrinkle, or dimple. The grapes were hand harvested in the cool, early morning and then whole berry destemmed. The grapes were allowed to cold soak for five days, after which fermentation started. Fermentation at a controlled 65-70 degrees took 16 days and was followed by an extended maceration to extract additional flavors, complexity and tannin. When optimum profiles were achieved the young wine was gently pressed off the skins and only a very small amount of the pressed juice was added to the free-run juice. The wine was then transferred to new French oak barrels from selected forests and allowed to age. When the desired oak influence was obtained the wine was transferred to one- and two-year-old French oak barrels to finish the aging process.

The result is a Merlot made in a "Right Bank" Bordeaux style, which exhibits classic varietal aromas and flavors of black cherry, ripe plum and spice, along with pencil lead, cocoa and some earthiness. This wine has beautiful balance with supple fruit, bright acidity and sweet well-integrated tannins. The wine is wonderful to drink now but will age gracefully for many years to come.

Merlot: Carneros appellation, Moon vineyard 96.5%
Cabernet Franc: Atlas Peak appellation, Stagecoach vineyard 3.5%
Harvest Date: October 25, 2007
Brix at Harvest: 25.8
Barrels: 100% French, 40% new. Troncais-Allier, 18 months
Alcohol: 14.1%
TA: 6.1 g/L
pH: 3.62