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WL Rating: 3 out of 5 based on 1 rating

Cycles Gladiator Central Coast Merlot 2005

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Credit: Cycles Gladiator.

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    Merlot: The wine you drink while you wait for your Cabernet Sauvignon to age. This has always been the prevailing wisdom for Old World wines, primarily those from Bordeaux. Here in the New World, Cabernets are being made to drink young, and the Merlots are being made bigger, richer, and sturdier. Our Cycles-Gladiator wines may have an Old World label, but we make our wines in an uninhibitedly New World style. Our Central Coast vineyards are cool-climate, and Iím convinced now more than ever that the very best, most expressive New World style Merlots come from cooler climes. The long hang times lead to riper, fuller wines with substantial yet resolved tannins. And of course, if you enjoy blending as we do here, even the slightest perceived deficiency is easily addressed. For me, this means making wines that are ripe and lush, yet substantial enough to stand up to the most demanding of cuisine.
    All of our Merlot is harvested early in the morning while the grapes are still cool and dripping with dew from the night before. This gives us complete control over the crushing and fermentation without the inherent risks of spontaneous fermentation and the resulting off-characters that may result. The grapes are destemmed and crushed into 12-15 ton open top fermentation vessels. We pump-over 3-4 times/day until dry...usually 12-14 days. Once dry, the tanks are pressed out, the wine allowed to settle, and the resulting wine is racked into a blend of new and neutral French Oak for the long slumber of the winter and spring. At 11 months, the wines are removed from barrel, blended, and bottled.
    Lovely aromatics of Emperor Cherry, blackberry, and cedar in the nose underscored with a subtle hint of pencil lead shavings. Lush red fruits fill the mouth in increasing intensity finishing with plums and a pretty green thread over the background. The tannins are substantial but melting, offering more of a velvet richness as opposed to the harsh, bitter character that many Merlots can have. And then there is the unique cool-climate acidity that suspends the entire sensation well into the finish. This is a Merlot that can pair with a broad spectrum of foods. Try pairing with a dinner consisting of a variety of finger foods: Mushroom and sausage over polenta squares, pepper teriyaki beef on wooden skewers, and lamb kabobs with a cherry balsamic marinade reduction.
    Awards & Reviews
    90 Points & Gold Medal! - 2007 World Wine Championships

    Posted by thewinery on December 1st, 2007 at 10:39am | report comment

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