The source for this Merlot comes from three blocks off of the estate vineyard located along Dry Creek Road from vineyard planted over 5 years beginning in 1990. Bench Vineyards, the name chosen for this wine, describes the natural terraces that flank Dry Creek Valley and rise gradually into the steep hills. Characterized by sloped topography and gravelly/rocky residual soils, the unique growing conditions combine to bring out the best in thisr Merlot. The grapes were crushed into temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and cold soaked for 48 hours. Daily pumpovers during the fermentation gives a substantial increase in flavor and color. The young wine was transferred to small American oak barrels to age for 12 months in order to develop smoothness and complexity, giving the wine a subtle backbone of oak components. Aromas are rich and enticing with hints of strawberry, sage and baking spices. Flavors of red cherry, plum and notes of freshly ground black pepper are showcased along with touch of vanilla and toasty oak. Medium bodied with rounded tannins follow through to a spiced finish. A beautifully balanced wine.