Journal | September 27, 2017
What a civilized harvest we are having. Taking full advantage of a very favorable forecast, we are slowly and methodically picking and crushing small lots of Merlot and Cabernet Franc. Today Avenius Vineyard is up to bat. There are two very distinct blocks of Merlot that will be picked, fermented and aged separately. The 2012 block (year the vines were planted) is very, very ripe. Vine leaves are senescing, and a few berries are starting to shrivel, but the flavors are intense and the tannins supple. The 2007 block is planted in more water retentive soils and the leaves are green (not much hydric stress). The fruit is firm and crunchy. There is still plenty of acidity and freshness. The tannins are less supple than 2012, but still in the ballpark of ripeness.
When to pick Merlot has been a constant quandary. In 2010 we had the opportunity to let the Merlot get super ripe. The results were disappointing as the wine were rustic and alcoholic. If we pick early, the freshness of the wine is a big plus. However, Merlot’s duty is to be a blending partner to Cabernet Sauvignon. Linden’s mountain grown Cabernet usually has lots of acidity and freshness on its own. I’m hoping to have some questions answered from the 2017 vintage Avenius Merlot.