and William Shakespeare

We at MERRILL CELLARS would like to thank the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon for bringing "The Plays of Shakespeare" to Oregon for 75 years. For it was the Festival bringing my daughters and myself to see Shakespeare, that inspired this winery adventure. Thank you, William Shakespeare, Natalie, and Eva. You are all part of this wine. "much ado about wine" is the catch phrase idea of daughter Eva Merrill. at age 9.
If you look closely at the Red dot on our "Reserve" wines you will see our initials. ONE. O. Jay Natalie Eva. Enjoy.
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See, read, and share the centerfold page 75 of Wine Spectators photos and credits to wines especially Merrill Cellars “Cotes du Rogue” (limited amounts available) . Then for more juice note the top billing. I quote “Some of these growers are starting to push the boundaries.  Production remains small, but labels such as Merrill, Del Rio, Quady North, and Cowhorn craft compelling wines that justify their prices. For example, the Merrill Cellars (Henry IV) Cotes du Rogue 2008 (91/$35), a Syrah, Grenache, and Petite Sirah, dances lightly to a tune of blackberry and licorice flavors.” …”Those wines hold true to the same style that Oregon Pinot Noirs have established: relatively light, lively with acidity and focused on clarity of flavor. Someday, these Rogue Vlley releases might even challenge Pinot Noir for prominence in the state.” Harvey Steiman / Wine Spectator.

 There isn’t much of the 2008 left, but it is a special wine. I have a 2008 Syrah that rocks too! 

New releases..

2012 Reserve Syrah, my most exotic yet. This vintage has beautiful wild cherry, red plum, to a Cotes Rotie mid palette, with an amazing long finish that includes beautiful tandoori spices, with a touch of the white pepper. Very similar to 2011 which received a 92 points.

2012 Reserva Tempranillo, its label says Merrill-Monserrat after my mothers' Spanish heritage. Having spent a couple of research trips to Rioja and the Basque country I found my favorite Rioja Tempranillo's were almost always blended with 5%-10% Grenacha. Most every American Tempranillo is 100% tempranillo, and not aged enough to mellow those tannins out. Blending just the right amount each vintage provides aromatics, softer tannins, a touch of rose petal sweetness, and makes our Tempranillo unique. I tested it on the McMinnville wine buyers, and guess what? It sold out in a couple hours. It's my new favorite, with food or by itself!

2012 Viognier "Artist Series". Imagine sitting on your back porch in early summer eating a ripe ruby red grapefruit with a sprinkle of sugar on top. This was another great discovery. THE GENEVA CLONE. Totally different clone and flavors than my Reserve Viognier Condrieu Clones. 93 points. Costco $14.99.  

2012 COTES DU ROGUE "Artist Series". My dream of making the best Southern Rhone Blend in Oregon or America can't be far from this specimen. 50% Grenache, 45% Syrah, 5% Mourvedre.
I'm as proud of this vintage CdR red as I was my 2010, and 2008's. Best buy at Costco for $16.99

2011 Reserve Chardonnay , full ripe fruit, full body, a touch of oak, yet still an acid finish. Another winner long finish. Delicious. 91pts.

2011 Pinot Noir "Artist Series" Great fruit, medium body, long flavor palette, and classic Burgundian acid finish. This one is getting better every day. 90 points and climbing.

2011 Reserve Viognier, same as our 2011 Artist except a year more age, dryer, caramel. Classic Condrieu clones, and flavors of pear, lavender, and honey.

Welcome to MERRILL CELLARS. We hope to make your reading, shopping and sharing of our wine, enjoyable. 

As Robert Mondavi said in his Autobiography Harvest of Joy, "Wine to me is a passion. It's family and friends. It's warmth of heart and generosity of spirit. Wine is art. Wine is Culture. It's the essence of civilization and the art of living."

Whether you're at a outside music festival, or watching a sunset walking on the beach, savor the times of enjoyment you have. Enjoy a gourmet meal, or a simple picnic, but create a special memory today, with a special wine. We hope to fill that thought, to provide your wine, so you enjoy these things together. Life is not a badge of where you've been, or what you've collected, but of who you have become.

At MERRILL CELLARS, we could go on and on about our various "terroirs'", our award winning winemakers, our impeccable selection of grapes, our use of French and American oak barrels, or how we nuture the creation of wine. Instead, we believe the wines will speak for themselves, speak of the earth, show our care. Our wines are fine examples of classic style wines from the Rhone Valley, Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Oregon. We've entered wine festivals, collected a couple Platinum medals, and all the rest mostly Gold, Peoples' Choice, or Best of Show. Our "Cotes du Rogue" was wine jury selected to represent the Independant Winemakers of the Northwest at the 2011 Portland Indie Wine Festival. Only 14 Wineries had such a honor. Amongst our fellow Rogue Valley Wineries we recieved the people's choice for Red wines at the Ashland Fall Food and Wine Classic. Our 2011 was selected by 20 fellow winemakers as best overall Oregon Wine at a 2013 Trade show. That same Chardonnay with all its huge flavors and perfect acid balance was voted the "Peoples Choice" award at SunRiver Wine Fest. Wine Spectator has rated five of our wines an average 90.20 points. Oregon Wine Geeks has rated every wine ever made and our average is 90.8 points. We are very proud to have these lofty results. We have TEN current wines with independent ratings of 90+.

MERRILL CELLARS has two brands of wine, our signature Artist Series featuring accomplished Oregon "plein air" artist Ken Roth, and our "Reserve" wines. We truly only give this Reserve designation to wines we feel are special wines from special vintages, and special styles. All our wines are excellent, but some more so. The extraordinary Oregon landscapes by Ken Roth reflect the personality of each wine. Ken and I took time and care to choose the art that we felt best suited the style of wine inside.

While the Willamette Valley of Oregon is famous for it's Pinot Noir, and Pinot Gris, we feel the Rogue Valley should be equally famous for it's Syrah, Viognier, Tempranillo, and Rhone Blends. With these Rhone Varietals, we created our "Cotes du Rogue" style wines.

The variety of terriors from which we harvest our grapes vary from the hottest at 1200 feet elevation and south facing, where some of our Syrah and Viognier grow, to our coolest terrior at almost 2000 feet elevation. That is the Fortmiller Vineyard, home of some very nice Pinot Noir's. In 2011 we harvested Chardonnay, and "Merrilltage" our Bourdeaux Blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot.
In 2012 we began our Tempranillo, and Steelhead Run Syrah and Viognier. During my search for the best Syrah and Viognier in Oregon, I decided to make two single vineyard Syrah's one from Syrah Noir and 877 Clone the other from the very rare Hermitage Clone. These I either co-ferment with 3-5% Viognier or just use the Viognier skins. (There is a story there too!)
Stay tuned for future updates.

Wine is our passion.  O.Jay Merrill  Vintner/CEO

check out: American Society of Enology and Viticulture, Oregon Wine  , Southern Oregon Wine Institute,  Ashland, Oregon, Jacksonville, Oregon, Portland Indie Wine Festival , Northwest Food and Wine Festval, Newport Seafood and Wine Festival, McMinnville Wine Classic, SunFest Wine Festival, Great American Wine Festival, Sisters Wine and Brew Fest, Oregon Wine Board, Wine Spectator, Oregon Wine Geeks, San Francisco Wine Competitiion, BEND, OREGON
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