Austin Hope Merlot 2021
When it comes to Merlot, we are standing our ground. While Merlot may have fallen out of favor in California, it remains a grape with a noble Bordeaux heritage—and with immense promise in Paso Robles. This is a wine that reminds you of what a great Merlot can be: rich, chewy and vibrant with supple textures and a velvety tannin structure. Fall in love with Merlot—again.
Our Merlot is sourced in the Estrella district and located on Airport Road near the Estrella River. This is an ideal spot with sandy soils and daily breezes from both the north and south.
The 2021 growing season was very typical through early spring with warm days and cool nights. Early summer through harvest gave us some unexpected heatwaves but plenty of marine breezes and mild weather prevailed. The result was a slight delay of harvest while we waited for acidity, pH and brix to balance creating mature flavors.
After harvest, the Merlot was fermented in stainless-steel tanks for 10-14 days. Extended macerations and carefully managed pump overs enhanced the extraction of color and tannin. The Merlot was aged for 9 months in neutral American and French Oak. The lots were racked only once during its cellar life, with the final racking occurring to blend, just prior to filtering and bottling in mid-July of 2022.