2004 Hawks Butte Merlot

Statistics

Varietal Blend:    100% Hawks Butte Merlot

Appellation: Yorkville Highlands, Mendocino County

Harvest Date: October 4, 2004

Brix: 24.3

Fermentation: Ten days, BM45 yeast

Oak Maturation: 22 months; 30% Artisan French oak barrels

Cases Produced: 150

pH: 3.54

Titratable acidity: 0.67 g/100ml

Alcohol: 13.8

Tasting Notes

Deep garnet.  Aromas of leather and lavender, with a dusting of spice.  Easy drinking black cherry and caramel, with a hint of Bink’s favorite – catnip mint.  Soft tannins linger through the finish.

The grapes were harvested on October 4, 2004, and yielded just1.5 tons per acre from this young vineyard. The small crop was due to the young age of the vines and the difficult growing conditions on this hillside vineyard. The grape clusters were long and gracious and produced just 145 gallons of grape juice per ton of grapes, providing plenty of concentrated flavors in the finished wine.

We crushed the Merlot into 1/2 ton bins and cold soaked for 48 hours. After the must warmed to 50 degrees F, the bins were inoculated with BM45 cultured yeast.  Primary fermentation lasted for ten days, when we pressed the must into a small stainless steel tank. The wine was innoculated with Oennococcus Oeni cultures to start the secondary malolactic fermentation.

The wine settled for two days before being racked into barrels. The grapes yielded 450 gallons of wine which aged in approximately 30% new French oak.  We used a combination of neutral barrels (old French) and new Artisan French barrels. We used Vicard and Remond with medium plus toast levels. The Vicard barrel was made with oak from the Never forest and the Remond was from the Allier forest. The wine aged for 22 months in barrels.