AG Pick: Matanzas Creek Merlot

I have been a fan of Matanzas Creek’s red wines for years, even before I visited their beautiful estate in Santa Rosa, California.  Now every time I open a bottle I think about strolling through the rows and rows of lavender, taking in its intoxicating and soothing smell.

Matanzas Creek LavenderMatanzas Creek’s tasting room is perched on a hill overlooking the winery’s vineyards and lavender fields.  It’s one of my favorite wineries to visit in Sonoma County — not just because I’m a sucker for anything lavender, but because they produce delicious wines.

I really enjoy Matanzas Creek’s Bennett Valley Merlot.  Right now I’m drinking the 2005 vintage which is 85% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Syrah.  It has a deep garnet red color and a nose of ripe cherries and fresh herbs.

Matanzas Creek MerlotThis is a Merlot with muscle.  The taste is ripe and full, with flavors of blackberry, cherry and quince rounded out with pepper and cloves.  It’s well balanced with soft tannins that give it a pleasant mouthfeel.  It’s a delicious wine to sip on the porch overlooking your own garden, or to pair with beef, poultry or tomato-based pasta dishes.

The 2005 Matanzas Creek Bennett Valley Merlot costs around $30.  If you enjoy this Merlot you’ll love their Jackson Park Merlot, a full-bodied wine with notes of cassis, coffee and white pepper.  The 2005 Jackson Park Merlot costs around $45.

Matanzas Creek makes a variety of products with the lavender grown on their estate.  For more information on both the wine and lavender products visit www.matanzascreek.com.