Deerfield Ranch Winery 2003 Trio Meritage, Napa Valley
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This week, Indie Winemakers is offering a library wine at current release prices! Deerfield winemaker and owner Robert Rex only releases his wine when they are tasting their best. In the case of our featured Meritage, this wine was barrel aged for 30 months, about double the time most wines spend in the barrel. Rex's winemaking style has its roots in classic Bordeaux winemaking using extended fermentation and barrel aging times along with the blending of several varietals to create the best wine.
Our featured wine was produced as a "clean" wine. Clean wine is any wine that has dramatically reduced levels of sulfites and histamines - which cause allergic reactions and roaring headaches for some people. To create clean wine, the winery has developed a three-tier approach to winemaking:
The SO2 of our featured wine was 21ppm at bottling and 8ppm at release! To test the effetiveness of clean wine, we got ourselves a taster who suffers from alergic reactions to red wine. At the tasting, she could tell immediately that she was not going to have any reaction to this wine. Spread the word. Clean wine works!
Most American wines are labeled after the grape variety that comprises at least 75% of that wine. Many winemakers, however, believed the varietal requirement did not necessarily result in the highest quality wine from their vineyards. "Meritage" was coined to identify wines that represent the highest form of the winemaker's art, hand-crafted wines blended from the traditional "noble" Bordeaux varietals including: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, where no one varietal is 75% or more.
Deerfield Trio Meritage is a blend of 42% Cabernet, 28% Cab. Franc, 12% Petit Verdot, 10% Malbec and Merlot 8% all from the same vineyard. Grapes from complementary soil types and microclimates are blended to maximize varietal characteristics and complexity similar to how a fined Bordeaux is produced. The grapes were sourced from Nord Family's Trio Vinyards. Trio’s rich dark soils and warmer mid-valley climate are perfect for the Bordeaux-style blends planted in this Cabernet region near Yountville.
Dark ruby; medium body but complex with blackberry, cherry and pepper aromas; sweet currant, cherry and fig flavors are concentrated and reach all areas of the palate. The wine is nicely balanced with a long finish. Delicious wine in a lighter style that lets fruit dominate the aromas and flavors and keeps the oak in a supporting role.
The winery suggests to pair this wine with Rack of Lamb or Lamb Chops. We paired it with BBQ Buffalo Steak. The Trio Meritage took on a supporting role to balance the Buffalo. All tasters commented how the wine really "mellowed" with the Bufallo flavor. This is a wine made for food. We held this food pairing in an informal BBQ setting.
Our mission is to provide unbiased opinions of the wine being offered. These notes come from up to 10 guests who tasted this wine in a blind tasting format (wine is concealed so their identity is unknown). Why this format? Tasting blind completely throws out any hype associated with a certain winery, style, price point, etc; it forces the taster to accept what is in the glass without any predetermined notions. Our guests utilize Robert Parker's Glossary of Wine Terms for their comments for consistency purposes. In addition, we utilize the wine aroma wheel to enhance one’s ability to describe the complexity of wine flavor. Notes are posted on this wine during the tasting to ensure they accurately reflect the impressions.
|Blend||42% Cabernet, 28% Cab. Franc, 12% Petit Verdot, 10% Malbec and Merlot 8%|
|Appelation||100% Trio Vineyard, Yountville AVA, Napa Valley.|
|Harvest Dates||All five varietals were harvested on October 20, 2003 and fermented together, a rare opportunity.|
|Sugar at Harvest||24.8 to 25.9 degrees Brix|
|Fermentation||Started on native yeast then inoculated with Pasteur Red (traditional Bordeaux yeast). Fermentation took 15 days with 7 days additional maceration.|
|Aging / Cooperage||30 Months in artisan coopered 3 year air dried barrels, 80% French 20% American.|
|Alcohol||14.7% by volume|
|Acidity||PH = 3.75, TA = 0.60|
Trio Vineyards’ rich dark soils and warmer mid-valley climate are perfect for the Bordeaux-style blends planted in this Cabernet region near Yountville. Part of the Nord family portfolio for decades, the immaculate vineyards clearly show the vineyard workers’ great pride in having nurtured these vines for so many years. This vineyard has a moderate climate with marine influence but warm, sunny afternoons. It has dark clay loam topsoils atop alluvial gravels, keeping the soil well-drained.
We add our 3 decades of winemaking talent, education, experimentation and learning from our peers to produce this wine. Our friends say it's a Napa Cab wine made by a Sonoma winemaker. This means the wine is more elegant, more reserved, compared to the more tannin, more aggressive Napa made counterparts. It’s very much a mouthful, with big forward flavors that hit every corner, every place you experience wine. It’s the Meritage experience at its penultimate.