Lava Cap is a family-owned winery in Placerville, California. The Jones family planted their first vines in 1981 and opened the winery in 1986 on a special site in the heart of the Sierra Foothills. The family of geologists specifically selected this location for its prime volcanic soil that is particularly well suited to growing fine wine grapes. They named their new business after this unique “lava cap,” where their grapes flourish in the volcanic soil, warmed by the foothill sunshine and cooled by gentle Sierra night breezes. The grapes for this merlot were grown exclusively in Lava Cap’s vineyard and hand-harvested. ‘Our Merlot vineyard is planted in a low lying draw that has dense soils suitable for premium Merlot. The soil is derived from decomposed lahar flows that occured between 4-10 million years ago, creating a young volcanic soil that allows for the development of intense and lush fruit flavors. To increase complexity we planted our Merlot vines on north and west facing aspects at elevations ranging from 2400 to 2600 feet elevation, creating variations in the ripening process that allows Lava Cap to make a wine with a strong mid palate and lengthy finish. The Merlot berries were fermented for 10 days on the skins with frequent punchdowns. To preserve the well structured cherry flavors and full bodied fruit characteristics, the wine was aged for 22months in 2nd fill French oak. This delicate balance allows the slight toasti-ness to present itself on the finish without taking the spotlight from the fruit.’ 2017 vintage – 91% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec.