1997 Matanzas Creek Sonoma Valley Merlot (Previously $45)

SKU #310407 92 points Wine Spectator

 *** Highly Recommended *** Delicious California Merlot, ripe and juicy, with pretty, rich, elegant black cherry, currant, cassis and wild berry flavors that hold their focus on a long, lively finish. (JL)  (9/2000)

91 points Wine Enthusiast

 A classy Merlot, sleek and well structured, with hints of blackberry, chocolate, anise, herb and toast that are securely nestled inside. Firm, ripe tannins frame the ensemble, which should really blossom in two to five years.  (12/2001)

90 points Wine & Spirits

 No notes given  (6/2001)

K&L Notes

The 1997 Sonoma Valley Merlot marked Matanzas Creek's twentieth vintage as one of America's premium producers of this varietal. In keeping with the methods from previous vintages, estate grown Merlot was blended with fruit from the Carneros vineyards of the Sangiacomo family. This marriage produces a lush, opulent wine. After crush, fermentation and extended maceration, individual lots were aged in French Oak barrels for 18 months. The final blend of Merlot with a small amount of estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon created a full bodied wine with impeccable balance of fruit and oak, well mannered tannins and the potential for graceful aging.

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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
Specific Appellation:

Sonoma County

- Second in fame only to Napa, this "other" valley offers just about every climate and topography imaginable. From its cool and fog-enshrouded coastal regions on the far west, to the sprawling Alexander Valley on the boarder of Napa and the many little dips and peaks in between, Sonoma has been a vital wine-grape-growing region since the mid 1800s. Important sub-AVAs include Chalk Hill (known for chardonnay and sauvignon blanc), Dry Creek Valley (where zin is king) Knights Valley (largely cabernet land), Russian River Valley and Sonoma Coast (both celebrated pinot and chardonnay zones).