Deep garnet in color with notes of clove and cedar highlight the bouquet of this Merlot. A complex palate of juicy raspberries and dry cocoa with very light tannins leads to a lingering cherry spice finish. This wine pairs very nicely with grilled lamb or a nice peppercorn steak.
Vintage, Vineyard and Winemaker Notes
Cecil De Loach has been farming the Russian River Valley for over 40 years and was among a small group of vintners that helped define this area as one of America’s premier growing regions. This Merlot was made from vines grown at Cecil’s Los Amigos Ranch, a vineyard in the Chalk Hill district of the Russian River Valley.
Despite going into the 5th year of drought, 2016 was another fantastic growing year in the Russian River Valley. Yields were larger than that of 2015 while a slightly cooler August allowed the clusters to mature more slowly and evenly than that vintage, providing great flavor and color development.
Upon arriving from the vineyard, our Merlot is gently de-stemmed and crushed before being moved to tanks to begin fermentation. During this process, we carefully return fermenting wine onto its own “cap” of grape skins to extract all of the color, flavors and tannins. We then press the remaining skins, and the resulting wine is aged for approximately 18 months in a combination of 20 hand-selected American and European oak barrels.
Appellation: Chalk Hill District, Russian River Valley
Vineyard: Los Amigos Ranch
Harvested: September 21, 2016
Estate Bottled: July 24, 2018
Aging: European & American Oak (25% new) for 18 month
Hook & Ladder Winery continues the legacy of one of Russian River Valley’s most influential wine families. Founded in 2003 by pioneering growers and vintners Cecil and Christine De Loach, and helmed today by their grandson, winemaker Jason De Loach, Hook & Ladder showcases the diversity of the appellation the family helped to define, in a portfolio of limited-production bottling’s from their Russian River Valley estate vineyards. The name Hook & Ladder pays homage to Cecil De Loach’s 17- year career as a San Francisco firefighter.
AZ, CA, CO, CT, DC, FL, GA, ID, IL, IN, IA, KS, LA, ME, MD, MA, MI, MN, MO, MT, NE, NV, NH, NM, NY, NC, ND, OH, OK, OR, PA, RI, SC, SD, TN, TX, VT, VA, WA, WI, WY
I remember having a few Hook and Ladder cabs (different vintage) from that flash site that had all the discounts many years back, and in addition, a friend of mine had a bottle of their PN open a couple weeks ago at dinner. My impression / memory of both was that they were well made, well balanced, tasty wine. At this price, I image great QPR and looking forward to some rats.
@jhkey@kaolis Been working at H&L for 14 years and I will say our Merlot is consistently one of my favorite wines we produce. This 2016 was a gold and 93 point rating at this years North Coast Wine Comp and IT IS DELICIOUS!
@golfaholic When you buy wine here, the actual seller is the winery - and each winery needs to have permits for every state that they deal with. Some states make it more difficult or expensive than others. If your state is restrictive, let your legislators know how you feel about it - this November.
@golfaholic@rpstrong We do ship to Minn. I apologize for this mix up and we are getting it sorted now. We love our friends up north and want them to be able to drink as much of this delicious H&L Merlot that they can. Thank you @golfaholic for the interest!
@FritzCat Funny, before the movie came out I thought I liked Pinot Noir, but I found myself drinking a lot more Merlot after. Didn’t intend to be a contrarian, but that’s the way things seem to shake out.
Their Tillerman is one of my favorite blends and we are drinking their Pinot Noir right now. Hook & Ladder is one of my go-to restaurant buys based on QPR even at the mark up. Been excited to see a number of offered from them here. I have not had the merlot but I’m in for a case based on their other offerings.
@handldevin will do, for sure. My wife and I love your wines and have been to the tasting room when we make it out to CA. I’ve ordered a ton of wine lately and really didn’t NEED a full case. Luckily, two of us can benefit and enjoy some delicious wine.
@knotworking Our Merlot is never disappointing, even 20 years later. The Chalk Hill Vineyard that we own is ideal for this varietal! I hope you enjoy and thank you for the kind words and fond memories.