2009 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot

Assemblage may be the least recognized — except by winemakers — yet certainly important element of winemaking. Assemblage is the process of deciding which lots will be included in the final blend. The just-released 2009 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot shows the role assemblage plays in achieving classic character, appealing style and impressive complexity.

Kenwood Vineyards crushes, ferments and ages every vineyard lot separately to give Senior Winemaker Pat Henderson and his staff maximum flexibility in blending the assemblage. The long, cool 2009 vintage enabled Merlot vineyards to fully express appellation character, providing — after 20 months aging in small oak barrels — a fine palette with which to work. Following evaluation of vineyard lots and creation of numerous test blends, both essential aspects of assemblage, Pat and his staff opted for nearly equal percentages of Merlot from Alexander Valley for plum fruit, chocolate complexity and smooth texture, Sonoma Valley for red berry fruit and balance and Dry Creek Valley for dark berry fruit and structure, plus a tiny percentage from Lake County for spice. A small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon also was included in the 2009 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot for even more complexity.

2009 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot’s generous raspberry, blueberry and plum aromas are complemented by spice and bittersweet chocolate complexity. Ripe plum and raspberry also highlight the medium-bodied flavors, where they are accented by notes of spice and chocolate. Substantial yet suave on the palate, with an underpinning of integrated tannins that suggests fine aging potential, it stays fruit-forward through the long, balanced finish. An impressive 33,400 cases of the 2009 Kenwood Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot were produced.

Established in 1970 in the Sonoma Valley, Kenwood Vineyards produces premium wines that showcase the world-class quality and character of Sonoma County vineyards.


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