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  • 2013 Switchback Ridge - Merlot Peterson Family Vineyard

2013 Switchback Ridge - Merlot Peterson Family Vineyard

UNITED STATES / CALIFORNIA / NAPA
    • Variety
      Merlot
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    SKU: 73527-2013-750-3A
    • Wine Spectator | Rating: 87

      Compact and firmly built, with reserved red currant, spice and dried herb flavors. Drink now through 2026. 776 cases made.
      Drink Dates: 2016-2026
      Author: Tim Fish
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  • Switchback Ridge produces handcrafted estate wines sourced exclusively from the Peterson Family Vineyard in Calistoga. The property has been in the Peterson family since 1914 and encompasses nearly 100 acres located at the mouth of Dutch Henry Canyon. For over 75 years the property was primarily maintained as a farm and plum orchard, with vines intermingled amongst the trees. In 1990, the orchards were replanted to vineyard, where there are currently 18 acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Petite Sirah vines, in addition to a three acre 50+ year old Petite Sirah block that John Peterson helped plant as a child. The rich, rocky soils of this beautiful vineyard property consistently produce low yields of intensely flavored fruit, resulting in extremely concentrated, fruit driven wines that are the hallmark of Switchback Ridge. Bob Foley has been the winemaker since the first vintage in 1999.

    California is the heartland of wine production in the US, and the state that brought prestige to American wine thanks to the pioneers who built early wineries like Staglin, Beringer, Ridge, Mayacamas and Chateau Montelena in the 1800s. Its large geographic area ensures a great diversity in growing sites, varieties grown, and quality levels. Generalizations about the state's wines have numerous exceptions; however, a few key facts generally hold true—ample sunshine, dry weather during the growing season, and moderate winters prevail. Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon continue to dominate the state's production—albeit in continually smaller percentages, as growers continue to diversify. More than 100 different varieties can be found throughout the state.

    Merlot is a soft and elegant grape with medium tannin, high acidity, and notes of plum, red currant, tobacco and red cherry. It is typically aged in French oak, which contributes notes of mocha and clove.

    Plantings of Merlot dominate Saint-Émilion and Pomerol, making this variety Bordeaux’s Right-Bank beauty. The variety is most famous amongst wine aficionados due to its presence in the world-renowned Château Petrus wine and its important role in Bordeaux blends. The typical style in this region is medium-bodied with medium alcohol and high acidity, fresh fruit character, and vegetal, leafy aromas. This herbaceous flavor profile is achieved by harvesting grapes earlier, a practice that is rare outside of Bordeaux.

    In order to generate maximum intensity of color, concentrated fruit, and soft, velvety tannin, most other regions harvest Merlot grapes as late as possible. The best examples of this “international” style are aged in new oak to add flavors of toast, vanilla, and clove.

    In Tuscany, Merlot is a key contributor to “Super-Tuscan” blends and is also made in a varietal style by top Italian producers Ornellaia, Tua Rita and Petrolo Galatrona. California producers such as Pahlmeyer, Blankiet Estate, and Pride Mountain are also responsible for some of the world’s best wines made from Merlot. 

    Merlot tends to fall in the middle of the spectrum for tannin, color, flavor, and acid, making it a strong match for a wide variety of food. Typical pairings include Cornish hen, roasted chicken, richly sauced dishes, casseroles, and caramelized vegetables.

    Collector Data For This Wine

    • 38 bottles owned
    • 8 collectors