The Sterling Vintner’s Collection Meritage is a fine blend of some of California’s most intriguing red varietals including Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot. The wine opens with an inviting and vivid nose of freshly picked raspberries, cranberry, cherry and melted milk chocolate. The wine is juicy on the palate where the nose rings true with flavors of mixed berry fruit, mocha and subtle toasted spice. The well-integrated oak influence offers a pleasing warm vanilla note and leads to a long-lasting, seamless finish with balanced acidity.
Outstanding vineyard sources are the foundation for this wine. Carefully selected fruit from premier vineyards throughout California allow the winemaker to craft the best expression of the fine varietals used to make the Meritage. Monterey County, where the majority of the fruit is sourced, offers incredible growing conditions including long, warm, sunny days tempered by cool ocean breezes.
Vintage 2014 was excellent for most of California—along the lines of the recent outstanding vintages of 2012 and 2013. Although California’s drought brought another dry winter, the growing season started with a warm, dry spring and relatively early bud break. Summer temperatures remained mild and consistent with even, warm temperatures throughout. Overall, the quality and fruit characteristics in this vintage were exceptional.
The Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petit Verdot grapes were picked at optimum ripeness and sent directly to the winery. Once in the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for two days followed by fermentation. The different varieties and lots were kept separate through the fermentation process and only came together when the winemaker assembled the final blend before bottling. The wine was aged for 11 months in a combination of French and American oak to integrate flavors, soften tannins and enhance the texture of the final wine.