2014 Rancheria Merlot
Rancheria Cellars is a sister brand to Margerum Wine Company and produces wines that are beautiful expressions of the region. In 2013, we introduced Rancheria Cellars as an expression of the many faces of Santa Barbara County terroir.
Rancheria (a small settlement of families working together) reflects the scores of talented people who have graced Doug’s winemaking life. These include mentors and Santa Barbara winemaking pioneers Jim Clendenen (Au Bon Climat) and Bob Lindquist (Qupé), who taught him winemaking and the art of blending. Also included are the more than 65 talented, accomplished employees who have worked at Wine Cask, Margerum and Rancheria Cellars; from sommeliers to former winery owners, wine consultants to college culinary art instructors, they have all helped Doug to create a wine saga that requires far more than just one sip to understand.
Doug on Rancheria Merlot....
Merlot has had a bad rap ever since Miles stole the show. Please tell us why this Merlot deserves our respect!
Why Merlot was singled out? I don’t know. I would guess that at the time the movie was being made that Merlot was extremely popular but it was getting a bad rap due to the abundance of the wine being produced and because of its popularity. Additionally, Merlot was being planted in marginal areas where it did not provide the wine that Merlot planted in right place can produce so there were quality issues. Merlot is one of the world’s greatest grapes and it produces one of the most expensive and sought out wines – Château Pétrus. Merlot planted in specific soils and climates can produce a very elegant, complex and satisfying wine. I do believe that most Bordeaux varietal wines (especially Merlot) are improved with judicious blending with some, or all, of the other Bordeaux Varietals – Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot. Rancheria Cellars is 92% Merlot and 8% Cabernet Sauvignon.
Are most of the growers you work with small-scale farmers? What do you look for in a vineyard? And what is the range of your growers (Santa Barbara to…Monterey?).
The majority of farming concerns in Santa Barbara County are relatively small. When deciding on whether or not to use a vineyard we look at a combination of factors – soil, exposure, climate, and farming practices. We source fruit primarily from Santa Barbara County.