Kenwood (Sonoma Valley), CA, January 13, 2011 – When true to type, Merlot ranks among the most appealing red wines in the world for good reason – it combines generous fruit and impressive complexity with smooth, easy-drinking style. Unfortunately, too many Merlots, for a variety of reasons, lose the grape’s natural grace on their way to becoming wine. The newly released 2008 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot and 2008 Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Vineyard Merlot represent different approaches to Merlot, but both deliciously highlight the grape’s one-of-a-kind velvet texture.
Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot draws grapes from multiple Sonoma County vineyard regions to achieve fruit-forward character and layered complexity. Merlot grapes from temperate Sonoma Valley provide deep fruit. Merlot grapes from very warm Alexander Valley impart fresh, ripe character. Merlot grapes from warm, gravelly Dry Creek Valley furnish intriguing spice and fine natural balance. Through careful blending, Kenwood Vineyards gains the best attributes of each region in its Sonoma County Merlot.
Situated on steep slopes overlooking the Sonoma Valley, Jack London Vineyard has long been recognized as one of California’s great vineyard estates, one that imbues wines with concentrated, mouthfilling character. Here Kenwood Vineyards’ goal is to preserve the distinctive power and depth of Jack London Vineyard Merlot grapes in its namesake single-vineyard bottling.
Though Kenwood Vineyards takes a different approach with each of these Merlots, it takes special care to assure both wines showcase Merlot’s classic smooth style. Vineyards are tracked individually and picked at peak maturity – when fruit, sugar, tannins and natural acidity reach perfect balance. Pressing after fermentation is slow and gentle to avoid extraction of bitter tannins. Lastly, the young Kenwood Merlots are aged for nearly two years in small French and American oak barrels, time that allows the wines to gain additional elegance as well as oak nuances.
The 2008 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot’s appealing character begins with forward aromas of blackberry, cigar box and baking spice. Raspberry and blueberry fruit dominates the generous, medium-bodied flavors, together with hints of toasty oak and spice. The palate captures this grape’s characteristic polished texture perfectly and stays polished through the long, balanced finish. An impressive 25,100 cases of 2008 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot were produced. It is available nationally at a suggested retail of $14.
In keeping with the wine’s concentrated character, the aromas of the 2008 Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Vineyard Merlot show restraint at first, but soon unfurl to display ripe plum and blackberry fruit, accented by notes of mocha, espresso and clove. The powerful flavors combine plum, black cherry, clove and mint. The wine is mouthfilling yet smooth, culminating in a lithe, delicate finish. While drinking well now, integrated tannins suggest this striking Merlot will continue to evolve with cellaring. The 2008 Kenwood Vineyards Jack London Vineyard Merlot is available nationally at a suggested retail of $22. A total of 3,500 cases were produced.
Established in 1970 in the Sonoma Valley, Kenwood Vineyards produces premium wines that express the world-class quality and character of Sonoma County vineyards.