We were dining at a new tapas restaurant in town. We were having fun. It seemed fitting to try a new fun wine to add to the new restaurant adventure. When I asked about the Merlo Winery Blackbird Red Wine Blend, someone at the bar recommended it because they knew the vintner. They highly recommended I give this wine a try. I did say this was an adventure, didn’t I?
The wine did just what we wanted it to, it added to the tapas and our culinary adventure. It was a fun time had by all.
Blackbird Red Wine Blend
When I took the time to research this winery I was intrigued. Merlo Family Estate Vineyards is located in Hyampom Valley, California at the confluence of the South Fork of the Trinity River and Hayfork Creek at the base of the South Fork Mountains. It’s truly out in the middle of nowhere. They refer to their location as “tucked away” and that it is. It may be isolated, but it is a beautiful place for a vineyard, not to mention the perfect climate, topography and soil for wine grapes.
Their growing season in the Hyampom Valley is a full three to four weeks later than that of Napa or Sonoma. This difference in growing season allows for a much slower grape ripening, increasing grape hang-time – an important factor in creating the full concentration of the winegrape’s ﬂavors. Their location and size of the winery dictates a restrained approach to their winemaking. All this allows the wine to reflect the distinct character of the terroir (soil, topography, and climate) of the Hyampom Valley.
When you visit this region, one of the towns you’ll pass through on your way to the Merlo Winery is Weaverville. It’s a must stop. It has the distinction of being part of James Hilton’s inspiration for his mythical location, Shangri-La, in his book “Lost Horizon.” Weaverville provides self-guided walking tours of their charming historic downtown and many other sights. As you continue your journey to Hyampom Valley and the Merlo Winery, you’ll also pass thru Hayford, another small town of note. When you take the time to visit this remote area, you’ll understand why it was the inspiration for “Shangri-La.” It is a beautiful area.
Located near the Mendocino National Forest, this area also offers many outdoor recreational opportunities very close at hand. If you’re looking to see remnants of the gold rush era, hike, swim and taste some great wine this is the place for you.
As I was doing the research for Merlo Winery, I discovered that one of the winery’s tasting rooms is actually at the Old Sugar Mill in Clarksburg, California, a short distance from my home. Now that is serendipitous.
This is what the winemaker has to say about their Merlo Winery Blackbird Red Wine Blend:
“Blackbird is the name for our Mediterranean-style red wine blend. The base of this blend is Syrah from our estate vineyard in Hyampom Valley, blended with the high-toned fruit notes of our estate Zinfandel. The result is a very rich and full-bodied wine with notes of cedar and spice, and a very complex finish. The Blackbird is the perfect accompaniment to richly- flavored foods like stews and cassoulet or at casual gatherings with BBQ ribs, pizza, or burgers on the grill with family and friends.”
Merlo Winery Blackbird Red Wine Blend can be found on their website, wine.com, totalwine.com, or a few wine markets and wine purveyors. Don’t be afraid to ask for it.
What a great time we had at the new tapas restaurant. The Merlo Winery Blackbird Red Wine Blend made it all the more fun. With the Californa fire season in full swing with a vengeance, this area happens to be one that is affected. I pray Weaverville, the surrounding natural areas, and their wineries are spared.
Time for a glass…
P.S.: Check out a few of my favorite wine tools and resources below. 🙂