The Tasting Panel magazine

Oct 09

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38 / the tasting panel / october 2009 b erets. Film Noir. Brie. Brigitte Bardot. The Statue of Liberty. All of these things are famous for their French roots, yet have worked their way into American lives and culture in such a thorough way as to become, well, American by proxy. Now joining the illustrious ranks of French transplants in the States is the 181 Merlot clone, which traces its history to Bordeaux's Pomerol region, where the storied vines have flourished in rich red clay soils for centuries. Today, this clone is enjoying an American Renaissance in Lodi, where the Clay Station Vineyard provides soil so similar to Pomerol's that people are be- ginning to take notice. "Clay Station is a beautiful place, and a very happy place, so many people compare it to Pomerol, and it is rather French" admits Sue Hofmann, winemaker for 181. "But we don't need to make that com- parison any more. California doesn't need to be compared to France—we do so much on our own!" Obviously not off the mark when it comes to California's success as a wine powerhouse, Hofmann is out to prove that 181 doesn't need to be weighed against other Cali- fornia (or even Lodi) Merlots ei- ther—because this is one wine that stands out from the pack. 181 Brings Sexy Back to Merlot by Rachel Burkons Whatever you may think about Merlot, its reputation or its source, Delicato Family Vineyards' 181 Merlot is out to prove there's nothing sexier than a great American Merlot with sultry French roots The Clay Station Vineyards are famously comparable to Bordeaux's Pomeral region, the source of Merlot clone 181. Today, the vines flourish under favorable conditions in Lodi's red clay soil, which helps prevent over-ripening.

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