Merlot: A Rosy Harvest

Our winemaker Mary McDermott and her team have brought in all our Merlot. A first, before the end of September!

We picked Merlot from the Remuda vineyard in OK Falls last week.  We’ve been working with long-time growers Dwight and Arnie Gash sourcing Merlot from their Remuda Vineyard in Okanagan Falls for many years. Their sustainably managed property has all the fundamentals for premium grapes. The vineyard is on a 5 to 8 degree slope, with an ideal southwest aspect.  The soils are glacial till with lots of gravels and boulders that allow excellent drainage. One of the most important geological features is McIntyre Bluff, situated at the south end of the Okanagan Falls growing region and on the west side of the valley. This feature, together with McIntyre Canyon on the east side of the valley, is big enough to change wind and weather patterns. At this point, the valley is the narrowest and most constricted in the Okanagan allowing plenty of heat units. The vineyards here receive the classic warm Okanagan days and cool nights and our Merlot ripens well with a rich plum and berry spiciness that reflects the unique terroir of this part of the Valley.

We also source Merlot from a grower we’ve been working with since our founding, Andy Marsel and his Blue Terrace Vineyard in North Bench Oliver.  The Merlot clone that Andy grows is 181, which originates from Pomerol, France in Bordeaux.  Described by Tasting Panel Magazine as “sexy with sultry French roots”, this renowned Pétrus Merlot clone is prone to early bud break and is fairly vigorous producing pendulous fruit clusters. The blue-black, medium size berries show a reasonable thickness of skin, a juicy pulp and a wonderful rich, intensely opulent flavour.

The Merlot off our Naramata Bench estate vineyard was harvested today at approximately 24 brix. It’s destined for our Rosé. (More details to come in the summer of 2016 on the Rosé).  Don’t worry grape stompers, we’ve left the Merlot at our south Langley vineyard for tomorrow’s grape stomp.

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