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Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 2015

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Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands 2015

Details

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**This Wine is from the Wagner Family of Wines who make Caymus, Conundrum, Belle Glos, and Emmolo**

Tasting Notes
Golden and sun-kissed, the 2015 vintage opens up with the fresh, tropical scents of pineapple and citrus blossom, balanced by the smooth character of vanilla. White peach comes through on the palate, which has a vibrant acidity balanced by the natural character of fully ripe fruit. Medium to full-bodied, this wine has a finish that is lengthy but never heavy, its mix of oak, butter and fruit characteristics blending seamlessly and leaving a harmonious, lingering impression.

The Region
Mer Soleil is named after its two prominent natural growing conditions of the Santa Lucia Highlands, sea (mer) and sun (soleil). This coastal appellation of Monterey County gives way to high quality Chardonnay as mornings and evenings pull in fog from the nearby Monterey bay, while the afternoons provide bright, warm sunlight.

Mer Soleil vineyards sit slightly South of what we believe is the “line of demarcation,” beyond which is too cool and moist to grow Chardonnay. Afternoon wind is intense enough to protect the grapes from staying too fog-moist. In these conditions, our grapes mature slowly and evenly. The unique combination of the sea and sun provide cool and dry growing conditions, developing the rich, complex flavors the Wagner are seeking.

Winemaker Notes
We planted our first grapes in the Santa Lucia Highlands in 1988 in pursuit of the best conditions for producing Chardonnay. A few vines gradually became a few acres, as we increased our vineyard little by little to achieve the highest quality. We took the name Mer Soleil from the two forces of nature, the sea and sun, that leave their imprint on this wine. The sea is nearby Monterey Bay, which delivers daily breezes off the Pacific Ocean that cool down the sun-drenched afternoons.

As John Steinbeck wrote, “I’ve lived in good climate, and it bores the hell out of me. I like weather rather than climate.” The dramatic weather of the Santa Lucia Highlands – bright sun coupled with cooling breezes that turn into wild gusts of wind – protects the vines from heat spikes that can be devastating for Chardonnay. These conditions also have a “slow ripening” effect on the grapes, allowing us to harvest them later than northern appellations and achieve an intense concentration of character and flavor in the wine.

Just like the weather where it is made, Mer Soleil Chardonnay is a dramatic and artful combination. Creamy and rich, the wine is balanced by a lively acidity. Fermentation and aging take place in French oak barrels for 12-15 months, using a mix of new and used for just the right amount of oak component. Only a portion of the wine goes through malolactic fermentation to ensure a firm acidity along with a hint of butter. We also practice hand stirring of the barrels to impart a creamy texture.

The Winery
The Mer Soleil Vineyard is named for two natural forces that create its growing conditions: sea (mer) and sun (soleil). With plantings at two separate locations in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Mer Soleil’s Chardonnay vines are nestled on east-facing lower slopes of the Sierra de Salinas range in what is one of the coolest, driest grape growing areas in California. During the growing season, warmer inland temperatures at the southern end of the Salinas Valley pull cooling morning and evening fogs into the vineyards. The afternoons, in contrast, are evenly warm and sunny. The absence of rain throughout the long growing season—harvest typically continues into November—and a pattern of brisk afternoon breezes keeps the grapes dry and pristine.

Charlie Wagner II is the winemaker and directs vineyard operations at Mer Soleil

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