Wine Recommendation
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Wine Recommendation

Ceja Vineyards 2002 Merlot

Ceja Vineyards

2002 Merlot
(Carneros ~ Los Carneros)

This producer always seems to get it right, making balanced wines with just the right components of fruit ripeness, tannins, and acid qualities – the troika of great wine.

With this Merlot, the folks at Ceja Vineyards – one of a growing cadre of Latino family wine producers in California – there’s no reason, none whatsoever, to bypass this much maligned variety. (Thank you very much, Miles.) We know that improving Pinot Noir is emerging again from both the Napa and Sonoma sides of Los Carneros, but now it’s evident that great Merlot is a good foil for the coolest terroir of the region. And I mean that both temperature-wise, as well as hip-wise.

The wine shows a dusky, earthy character from the Sonoma side of Los Carneros, with cinnamon, some sweet oak, blackberry and minerality. That same duskiness translates to the palate with fine-grained tannins for aging (perhaps as much as a dozen years), beautiful, perfectly ripe fruit, good structure, on a long finish. Hold onto it for a year to allow things to settle in.

The wine spent 22 months in French barrels, the listed alcohol is a very pleasant 13.9 percent, and there were only 475 cases produced.

Reviewed August 1, 2006 by Alan Goldfarb.

Other reviewed wines from Ceja Vineyards


The Wine

Winery: Ceja Vineyards
Vintage: 2002
Wine: Merlot
Appellation: Carneros ~ Los Carneros
Grape: Merlot
Price: 750ml $32.00

Review Date: 8/1/2006

The Reviewer

Alan Goldfarb

Alan Goldfarb has been writing about and reviewing wine for 17 years. His reviews have been published in the St. Helena Star, San Jose Mercury, San Francisco Examiner, Decanter, and Wine Enthusiast, among others. Not once has he used a point system, star system, or an iconic symbol to quantify a wine. What counts in Mr. Goldfarb’s criteria when judging a wine is: how it tastes in the glass; is it well-constructed; its food compatibility; and presence of redeeming regional attributes.