What makes our Merlot so unique? The Corcelettes Estate Vineyard consists of 3 different blocks of Merlot, all tucked right up to the black rock mountain wall that is the backdrop to the property. Our vines are 100% self rooted, not grafted, meaning they are a direct conduit to the rugged, Stemwinder soils in which they are rooted. This allows you taste the extremely rich mineral backbone in the wine- there’s almost a flinty or chalky texture in this wine that make is oh-so stony. We have two different clones of Merlot in our vineyard, the first being clone 181 (think pipe tobacco and more leathery, masculine flavours) and the second being clone 184, which expresses more blue and black fruits like figs and blueberries. Since each clone offers such different flavours, blending them together creates a much more complex wine with many layers of flavours. Charlie (the winemaker and viticulturalist) samples all of the different blocks frequently when we approach the harvest season, and we end up harvesting the Merlot several times over a span of 1-2 weeks, as each block ripens differently, based on elevation and proximity to the hot dark rock wall. We ferment each harvest in small vats, using punch-down and pump-over aeration technique. After ferment is complete, the wine is aged in a series of French and American oak barrels and French oak vats (1000L in size) for 18 months, about 25% of those being new oak. In an effort to showcase the Similkameen terroir, we really don’t use a lot of new oak because we wish to respect the fruit and let it express the special soils and microclimate in which the vines are grown. Stemwinder soil is extremely rocky, the average stone looks volcanic and is about the size of a baseball-they are dark, porous and jagged- there’s also a lot of shale in Stemwinder soil. Our Merlot captures the essence of this distinct terroir and expresses the Similkameen Valley beautifully!