2006 Buoncristiani Merlot - Garagiste - Hyde Vineyard
WINEMAKER JAY BUONCRISTIANI'S RECENT TASTING NOTES:
2006 Merlot Garagiste - Hyde Vineyard - 35 cases originally crafted. Ruby brick hue with a dried cherry nose and slight bottle bouquet. Plum, sweet vanilla high tone, white cake frosting, cotton candy and a slight metallic hint of clove on the palate. Slight cranberry tannin and integrated oak on the finish. Nice acidity with slightly mineral, bright flavors. Major Yum factor! Drink now or over the next 1 to 2 years.
ORIGINAL TECHNICAL NOTES:
Sideways bashed yes, deserving to be I think not.
Merlot, when grown correctly and crafted meticulously, can be down right astonishing. This noble variety dates back to the 1800’s with its numerous plantings in the left bank Médoc region of Bordeaux. While still thriving there, Napa Valley has become very much a second home to world class Merlots, both on its own and in red blends. The bros and I often use Merlot as a blender due to its bright fruit, soft fleshy mouth-feel and its outstanding ability to balance a final blend even in small amounts. Once in awhile you come across a vineyard source that provides the building blocks toward a wine that screams to be kept separate and showcased…this Merlot is one of those wines.
Our Merlot was sourced from the famed Hyde Vineyards in Carneros. When guru winegrower and owner Larry Hyde announced the availability of some Hyde Merlot I jumped at the chance to check it out. After walking the rows and scoping out the fruit bombs my bros and I signed up a block of Merlot from Hyde pronto, and we have been enjoying the fruit immensely ever since. Note: we enjoy the resulting purple vino even more….hence the bottling of our second only varietal Merlot under the Buoncristiani label that most will never get to taste unless they’re in the Garagiste fold. The influence of this Merlot source can of course be indirectly tasted since some of the resulting wine became a component of our 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and some turned up as a harmonious contributor to the 2006 O.P.C. profile. Only a very small amount (1½ barrels) was showcased on its own, continuing the fourth year of Serie Garagiste!
I scrolled through my notes from the multiple tasting sessions with the brothers and pulled some descriptors out of the chicken scratch. Here are some highlights: “bright ruby hue, black cherry, currant & blueberry, violets, mocha, caramel, cedar spice, baker’s chocolate, sexy mid palate, balanced acidity, integrated oak, and a fleshy round satin-like finish.”
Jay Buoncristiani, Winemaker