100% Merlot – Organically Grown
94 Points – Erin Brooks, The Wine Advocate
Santa Cruz Mountains
Ruby-purple saturated color. Ripe bramble fruit aroma, anise, toasted oak, and crushed rock mineral. Elegant entry, red cherry and currant fruits, polished tannins, firm acid, and integrated oak spice. Great fruit intensity in a long finish. EB (3/19)
The “Bowl” block at Torre, planted in 1987 was selected for this year’s Historic Vineyard Series. Its bowl shape and south-facing slope shields the vines from the ocean, providing a warmer micro-climate. This helped with 2016’s cool growing season. Harvested September 24, a vigorous fermentation achieved full extraction by the sixth day. New american oak barrels were used to compliment the wine’s rich fruit. Enjoyable now, it will gain complexity over the next decade.
In 1903, the Torre family homesteaded the land which comprises our middle vineyard (2300′). They planted vines and built a small winery, but once Prohibition was enacted in 1920, the vineyards were abandoned and the property passed through several owners. William Short acquired the acreage in the 1940s, re-planted cabernet on a number of the old parcels and for the first time, a few acres of chardonnay as well. He sold to the Ridge founding partners in 1959. They made a half-barrel of Monte Bello Cabernet that year. Its exceptional quality convinced them to restore the Torre winery, and to make wine. It was not until 1975 that a small amount of merlot—from a parcel planted in 1968 on the contiguous Perrone land—was included. The merlot proved an excellent complement to the cabernet; three more parcels were planted in the late 1980s. The “Bowl” block, planted in 1988, on the old Torre vineyard was selected for this limited bottling.
Rainfall: 24.4 inches (below normal)
Bloom: Early June
Weather: A very wet December and January helped ease the drought. Cool weather in April reduced our lower elevation crops a bit. Warm spells in late June and late July helped push the vines along.
Harvest Date: 24 September
Grapes: Average Brix 23.5˚
Fermentation: Grapes 100% destemmed, but not crushed for a whole berry fermentation. Pressed at six days. Secondary fermentation: Natural barrel malolactic fermentation; initiated in tank and finished in barrel. 120 days of sur lees aging in new barrels.
Barrels: 100% air-dried american oak barrels (60% new, 40% one year old)
Aging: Seventeen months in barrel
All estate-grown Monte Bello vineyard grapes, hand harvested; destemmed and sorted; fermented on the native yeasts, followed by full malolactic on the naturally occurring bacteria; minimum effective sulfur for this wine; (35 ppm initially at crush, 41 ppm over the course of aging); oak from barrel aging; pad filtered at bottling. In keeping with our philosophy of minimal intervention, this is the sum of our actions.
The Wine Advocate: 94 Points “Medium to deep ruby, it has a classic nose of chocolate box, cigars, cedar, warm blackcurrant and warm red and black cherries with black plum, granite, dried flowers, garrigue and gamey notes. The palate is medium to full-bodied with luscious, savory fruits framed by wonderfully ripe, grainy tannins and seamless freshness, finishing very long.” – Erin Brooks (February 2020)
Vinous Media (August 2018): (91-94 Points). “The 2016 Merlot Torre offers a superb interplay of textural richness and vibrancy. Succulent black cherry, lavender, spice, plum and menthol flesh out in this unctuous, inviting wine.” – Antonio Galloni
Average Rating: 91
No. of Tasting Notes: 6
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