In the creation of Merriam Vineyards’ Bordeaux and Burgundy-style wines, blending is the most important step once wines have undergone fermentation and aging. At Merriam Vineyards, wines benefit from the added complexity provided by sourcing diverse grapes from a number of premium Sonoma County vineyard sites. “Each grape variety is grown from differing terroirs and therefore brings a distinct flavor or mouthfeel to the finished wine,” says Peter Merriam. “For us blending is a spice rack, where we combine fruit, spice and color to create more dynamic wines. Blending allows us to include varying percentages of different varieties from diverse vineyard sites with the rest being perfectly balanced wines where power is restrained by elegance.”
The Merriam team of Peter and winemaker David Herzberg gather to evaluate each individual blend four times a year. These roundtable-blending sessions consist of tasting each wine twice and making decisions about different cooperages, degree of toasts, color, flavors and varietal balance, among other important considerations. Once the final decisions are made, each wine goes back into barrel for the next six to twelve months prior to bottling, a process that encourages harmony in the finished wines.
Blending and the role of keeping specific lots isolated throughout the process are both important to our winemaking process. We honor their uniqueness by keeping them in their own separate lots, and then we can blend accordingly to bring out certain characteristics of each wine, allowing them to complement one another. In the final assessment of the wines we want to make sure that there is a sense of synergy in the wine, being that the completed product reflects more than simply a sum of its parts.