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Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Valley (2012)
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    Wine Details
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Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Valley (2012)

Merlot, Behler Vineyard, Sonoma Valley (2012)

This lively and full-bodied Merlot showcases rich, red fruit flavors and aromas of cherry compote, cranberry, and plum along with a note of savory herbs and bittersweet cocoa. The finish is long and lingering. Nicely structured, the wine has aging potential of 5-8 years.

Our founder Joe Martin was the first grower to plant Merlot in Sonoma Valley when he came to this area in the 1970s. This picturesque valley is surrounded by the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, providing perfect conditions for Merlot grapes. The Behler Vineyard, our first Estate Vineyard, is located in the heart of Sonoma Valley where warm summer days are cooled by evening breezes and fog from the Pacific Ocean, resulting in fruit with deep, complex flavors and aromas.
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Vintage: 2012
Varietal Composition:
96% Merlot
4% Zinfandel
Barrel Aging:
17 Months
100% French Oak
Bottling Date: August 2014
Alcohol %: 14.7
With ideal weather and an abundance of exceptional fruit, it’s no secret the 2012 harvest was outstanding. Warm, moderate temperatures throughout the growing season allowed our fruit to reach the perfect state of ripeness without sacrificing balance and intensity. With no heat spikes, cold weather or rain, the fruit ripened evenly and developed great color and concentrations, producing wines with rich flavors and excellent structure.

The grapes are hand-sorted and undergo a five-day cold soak to extract optimal color and flavor. Prior to fermentation, saigné is performed. French for bleed, saigné means some of the juice is bled out of the tank, increasing the juice-to-skin ratio and further concentrating the juice. After primary fermentation in stainless steel tanks, the wine is pumped into French oak barrels where it undergoes natural malolactic fermentation and 17 months of aging. For added depth and complexity, a touch of Zinfandel was added to the blend before bottling.

90 Points
Wine Enthusiast

• 1 Japanese eggplant, cut crosswise into ¼ inch thick slices for 12 slices
• ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
• 1 large egg, lightly beaten
• ¼ cup all-purpose flour
• 4 ounces mozzarella cheese
• 6 cherry tomatoes
• 1 teaspoon extra virgin olive oil
• 1 tablespoon marjoram, fresh
• 2 cups vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 275°F.

Cut tomatoes in half, toss with 1 teaspoon of extra virgin olive oil and place on parchment paper. Bake for 40 minutes.

Place flour, breadcrumbs and beaten egg in three separate bowls. Season the eggplant well on one side with salt. Dredge each slice of eggplant into flour, then the egg mixture and finally in the Panko breadcrumbs.

Heat vegetable oil in large sauté pan over a medium flame until hot enough to fry. Fry six eggplant pieces until golden brown. Transfer to paper towel to drain. Repeat with remaining six pieces.

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Cut mozzarella in half first and then slice crosswise into twelve total slices. Top each slice of eggplant with a slice of mozzarella and a slice of oven-dried tomato. Bake in the oven for 5-8 minutes, or until the cheese is fully melted.

Chop the fresh marjoram and evenly sprinkle over each piece.

Makes 12 appetizer size portions
Recipe created by St. Francis Executive Chef Bryan Jones
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