The Sterling Vintner’s Collection Merlot boasts vivid aromas of fresh mixed-berry jam, red cherry, milk chocolate and baked spice. The wine is round and with good weight and generous flavors of blackberry bramble, sweet toasted oak and mocha. The wine is full-bodied with great concentration, silky tannins and a lengthy finish.
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 fine Merlot. Monterey County, where the majority of this Merlot 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 grapes were picked at optimum ripeness in the cool morning hours and sent directly to the winery. Once in the winery, the grapes were cold soaked for two days followed by fermentation. The Merlot was aged for 11 months in a combination of French and American oak to integrate flavors, soften tannins and enhance texture of the final wine.