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Chateau Ste. Michelle Merlot Columbia Valley Ethos Reserve 2009

Winemaker's Notes:

Grapes were sorted with a new grape receiving system and MOG (materials other than grapes) separation system that gets fruit to the fermenters in a more gentle and pure manner, allowing for better varietal expression and softer mouthfeel. ■ Ripe grapes were destemmed and inoculated with various strains of yeast to maximize complexity. ■ Daily gentle pumpovers were used to extract optimal fl avor and color and minimize harsh tannins. The pumpovers can vary by block, tank and day of fermentation. Every ferment is tasted every day to evaluate the evolution of the tannins, modify extraction techniques and fi nd the right moment to drain the wine off of its skins. ■ Aged for 22 months in 30% new French oak, 30% new American oak and 40% neutral oak. ■ Frequent aerative racking took place during barrel aging to soften tannins and enhance mouthfeel.

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Chateau Ste. Michelle:
  You’d be hard-pressed (just like the grapes!) to find a more influential winery than Chateau Ste. Michelle. It’s Washington State’s oldest winery, getting its start when Pommerelle Wine Company and the National Wine Company merged in 1954 to form the American Wine Growers. From there, they created a premium line of vinifera wines in 1967 called “Ste. Michelle ... Read more
  You’d be hard-pressed (just like the grapes!) to find a more influential winery than Chateau Ste. Michelle. It’s Washington State’s oldest winery, getting its start when Pommerelle Wine Company and the National Wine Company merged in 1954 to form the American Wine Growers. From there, they created a premium line of vinifera wines in 1967 called “Ste. Michelle Vintners,” under the direction of Andre Tchelistcheff, which is where Ste. Michelle really took off. Their first vines were planted at the now-legendary Cold Creek Vineyard in Eastern Washington in 1972. When a French style chateau was built in Woodinville by Ste. Michelle Vintners in 1976, the winery finally became known as Chateau Ste. Michelle. The terroir is very important for Chateau Ste. Michelle. Columbia Valley isn’t just important because they have over 3,500 acres under vine there - they love the land, and they even helped to make it recognized as an American Viticulture Area (AVA). Columbia Valley produces more Riesling than any other American region, and Chateau Ste. Michelle leads that charge as the leading North American Riesling producer. Chateau Ste. Michelle is known for its award-winning Riesling, Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, but it didn’t become great magically. They actually have two separate wineries, one for making whites, and another for making reds, which allows them to have complete control of the process. In fact, they’re so serious about the difference that they have dedicated winemakers for each color. While Bob Bertheau is their head winemaker who oversees all wine, Joshua Maloney oversees only the red wines, and Wendy Stuckey cares for the white. This allows Chateau Ste. Michelle to consistently create world-class wines that never fail to surprise judges. Read less

Tasting Notes:

My goal with Ethos wines is to showcase the best of Washington for the varietal and the vintage. This Merlot demonstrates the power and pleasure of Washington Merlot and offers wonderful complexity and rich layers. Half of the fruit came from our Cold Creek vineyard. The 2009 bottling offers cherry and spice fl avors. I like this Merlot with steak, ribs or a leg of lamb.

Grapes were sorted with a new grape receiving system and MOG (materials other than grapes) separation system that gets fruit to the fermenters in a more gentle and pure manner, allowing for better varietal expression and softer mouthfeel. ■ Ripe grapes were destemmed and inoculated with various strains of yeast to maximize complexity. ■ Daily gentle pumpovers were used to extract optimal fl avor and color and minimize harsh tannins. The pumpovers can vary by block, tank and day of fermentation. Every ferment is tasted every day to evaluate the evolution of the tannins, modify extraction techniques and fi nd the right moment to drain the wine off of its skins. ■ Aged for 22 months in 30% new French oak, 30% new American oak and 40% neutral oak. ■ Frequent aerative racking took place during barrel aging to soften tannins and enhance mouthfeel.

900 cases produced.

Wine Specs:

Alcohol: 14.5% pH: 3.82
Total Acidity: 0.51 grams per liter

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