We hand-harvested the grapes into small, 30-pound boxes to prevent crushing, and then brought them to our winery for hand sorting. After destemming and light crushing, the must was cold soaked for gentle color, flavor and tannin extraction.
To bridle the mountain tannins, Chris added small amounts of oxygen into the wine with two splashing pump-overs a day during the primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks. In-barrel malolactic fermentation rounded the acidity and softly integrated the vanillin character of the new French oak barrels. To further enhance the wine's elegance, we racked the wine five times during its 22 months of barrel aging.
"Howell Mountain is the location for Merlot wine making and this wine intends to prove it. Made from the best of our La Jota and Keyes Vineyard Merlot, you will find that characteristics of chocolate, coffee, broad tannins and lush blackberry envelope the palate."
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95 points Steve Heimoff, Wine Enthusiast "Cellar Selection" More>
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Winemaker: Christopher Carpenter
Blend Composition: 100% Merlot
Vineyard Information: La Jota Estate Vineyard and Keyes Vineyard
Harvest Date: October 8 and October 27, 2009
Type of Fermentation: Stainless Steel tanks with three pump-overs per day
Length of Maceration: 20 days including cold soak
Barrel Aging: 22 months in French Oak (88% new)
Wine pH: 3.59
Wine Acidity: 0.61 g/100 ml
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