G & C Lurton Merlot 2014
G & C Lurton
Region: Sonoma County

93-Wine Enthusiast; 92-James Suckling
Tasting Notes

Deep garnet colour. Savoury aromas of blackberries and dark cherries with hints of mint and cocoa. Rich fruit abound here, combined with silky tannins and bright acidity, creating a rich and fresh mouthfeel.

Merlot is a red wine grape variety with strong historic ties to Bordeaux and the southwest of France. It is the predominant grape in most wines from Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, the area from which the variety originated. Merlot is now widely planted in wine regions across the world and, in terms of the volumes of wine produced internationally, it is rivaled only by its Bordeaux companion, Cabernet Sauvignon. The popularity of Merlot in the United States resulted in a significant increase in planting in the late 1980s and early 1990s, particularly in California and Washington.

Chalk Hill is a tiny AVA in Northern Sonoma County, nestled among the eastern hills of the famous Russian River Valley. Its unique terroir in the hills means that it is slightly warmer than many of the surrounding AVAs. It is planted mostly to Bordeaux varieties. Chalk Hill has around 650 hectares (1600 acres) of land under vine and just a handful of producers. Chalk Hill’s terroir is based on powdery white volcanic ash, which is less fertile than the alluvial soils in the valley below. Soils with low fertility are usually considered optimum for winegrowing, as they force vines to work hard for survival, leading to lower yields of higher-quality grapes.

24 acres of sublime Chalk Hill estate vineyards, with a dizzying array of volcanic soils, topography and microclimates. The vines are planted vertically, to minimize soil loss, with ground cover between the rows. Farmed organically (while not officially registered as such), with biodynamic principles, great care is undertaken to ensure the biodiversity of the area is respected. the double Guyot trellis is employed to ensure the grapes are given plenty of sun exposure, but the canopy can be properly managed to shield the clusters from the hottest part of the day.

State of the art reception line with vibrating tables throughout to minimize impact. Berries are meticulously sorted by hand and the advanced “Mistral” wind system, leaving only the highest in quality. Small lot fermentation in thermo regulated stainless steel tanks with 5 days of cold soak followed by alcoholic fermentation. Malolactic fermentation follows in barrel. Twelve months in French oak barrels sourced from the finest forests of central France. 10% are new barrels from a mix of world-class coopers with an array of toast profiles.

Wine Type: Red

Variety: Merlot

Classification: AVA

Orientation: North/South facing

Appellation: Sonoma County

Gradient: 30-50% slope

Soil: Volcanic Ash, Clay

Farming Practices: Sustainable with some biodynamic practices

Residual Sugar: 0 g/l

Alcohol: 13.5

Malolactic: Yes

Botte Size: 750 ml

Acidity: 0.588g/100ml – 3.58pH

Other Practices: Sustainable