MERRILL-MONSERRAT Tempranillo, Albarino, and Garnacha.
My Mothers name is Maria Victoria Elesperu Monserrat Merrill. She was Spanish and Basque. She always wanted a vineyard. In 2012 while checking the fruit at my favorite supplier I found he had the most awarded Tempranillo grapes, and the Spanish adventure began. I had enjoyed Spanish Rioja Tempranillo's for years. Now the challenge was to create my American version. Off to Spain on the first of several trips researching the secrets of Rioja. First, I discovered that a majority of Rioja's had Garnacha (Grenache) in 5%-10% blends to give better aromatics and soften the sometimes bitter tannins on the finish.
Secondly, I discovered my new favorite white wine from Galicia Spain called Albarino. Oregon Albarino's never tasted like that! The problem was that grape takes a lot of heat and a long growing season. Yakima Valley solved that, and now after four years of wonderful Albarino we have another wine niche. 2018 vintage awarded 90 Points Wine Enthusiast
Thirdly, my passion for Grenache became Garnacha. Many centuries ago the French had brought vines from Spain to the Southern Rhone. Its floral and sweet dry fruit is the base majority in the famous Cotes du Rhones and Chateau Neuf du Pape wines. The Spanish love Garnacha so much it is the largest produced wine in all of Spain. In Spain it has a higher alcohol, bigger heat, and bigger flavor. 2016 our first vintage is Outstanding, selected as the 2019 Newport Seafood and Wine "Best of Show". Our 2017 is phenomenal too.
These would make my mother very proud.
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