Kenwood Jack London Vineyard 2014 Merlot Sonoma Mountain
February is a good month to drink Merlot. Although we’re still caught in the icy grip of winter, the grip is loosening. The days, while still cold, aren’t as cold as they were; and they are getting noticeably longer. Best of all, Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow this year on Groundhog Day! So, while February is still a good month to drink rich, full-bodied red wines, I find a Merlot, which is often silkier than its half-sibling, Cabernet Sauvignon, particularly appealing. Lately, I have been drinking an old favorite, Kenwood Jack London Vineyard Merlot Sonoma Mountain.
The Kenwood website indicates that this single vineyard, single varietal wine is produced from vines planted in red volcanic soil on Sonoma Mountain. The vineyard land, once part of Jack London’s Beauty Ranch, has a southeastern exposure and lies above the fog line. This location allows the vines to receive morning sun exposure that is tempered by cool afternoon breezes.
The grapes for the 2014 vintage were harvested between September 24 and 27, and fermented in stainless steel for three weeks. The resulting wine was aged in French and American oak barrels for eighteen months before being bottled in April 2016 at 3.51 pH, 7.0 g/L total acidity, and 14.5% alcohol.
This Merlot is deep red, with tart cherry and chalky aromas on the nose and dark cherry, chocolate, cola and chalky notes on the palate. It has a medium to full-body, with pleasant acidity and good tannic structure. The finish is long and relatively complex.
On the Kenwood Vineyards website, Jack London Vineyard Merlot Sonoma Mountain retails for $28.00, and the wine club price is $22.40. However, it is on sale at O’Bryan’s for $19.99 per bottle. A good single vineyard, single varietal wine at this price is a great deal. Stop by O’Bryan’s and pick up a bottle.