Below Ray Merlo answered a few questions about his wines and The Merlo Family Estate Vineyard.
Where are you located?
The Merlo Family Estate Vineyards are located on the riverbanks of the wild and scenic South Fork of the Trinity River at the southern tip of Trinity County located in the North Coast region of Northern California. Surrounded by 6,000 ft intercoastal mountains on all sides, these isolated vineyards are higher than most California vineyards at an elevation of 1,250 feet. Over 45 acres are currently planted with a variety of grape types using quality clone on terroir and site-specific rootstocks. Our vineyards include blocks of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, and Merlot, as well as, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon from nearby blocks.
Do you have a tasting room?
Being that the vineyards are so remote, we have opened a tasting room just south of Sacramento in Clarksburg, CA. The tasting room is located at The Old Sugar Mill, which is just a 15 minute drive from downtown Sacramento. Here one is able to sample all of our old world, varietal style wines.
Do you come from a winemaking family? And how would you describe your wine making style?
Our family’s grape growing and winemaking goes back many generations beginning in Northern Italy and you will see that heritage reflected in our wine making style. Our wines are all 100% varietal, which means our wine making truly begins in the vineyard. Our wine making style is very old world and is based on the concept that quality wine is grown in the vineyard, a minimalist approach is taken in the cellar, allowing the wines to clearly reflect the varietal character and distinct terroir of Hyampom Valley. Merlo Family Estate Vineyards produces a rare collection of richly flavored and expressive wines. Unlike many California wines, these deep, complex wines are not high in alcohol, nor overripe in flavors. Rather, the wines are naturally big and bold, yet refined and beautiful.
Has your wine won any awards?
Our wines have won many awards which you can find on our website at http://www.rmerlo.com.
How would you describe you wine with MWD Customers?
The 2005 Syrah is a big and richly dark wine has a refined balance and an elegant nature. Fully ripe blueberries, black cherries, and dried currants are the forward flavors supported by characters of Italian roasted espresso, stoutly porters, and Mediterranean spices. A favorite dish we like to serve with this wine is Texas spice rubbed and grilled Porter-House steak, Potato Gnocchi pasta and tossed Mediterranean peasant salad and a dessert of fig and raspberry cobbler a la French vanilla mode.
The 2009 Chardonnay displays well-balanced fruit and intense aromas of orange blossoms, fresh apples, and vanilla beans that are complimented by flavors of baked Gravenstein apple cobbler and lemon custard cream. Pair this wine with Caribbean coconut duck curry, vegetable kabobs, and crunchy basil/garlic bread and a dessert of Tortuga Pineapple/Rum Cake and enjoy!