2009 Upper Bench Merlot
Merlot • Caton Vineyard
California: Sonoma Valley
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Mission Codename: The Ty that binds
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: We’ve featured past vintages of Ty Caton’s Upper Bench Merlot, but with reports pouring in about Ty’s 2009, send Agent Red back to the winery to secure an ample allocation of this food-fantastic wine, for our demanding, Merlot-loving Operatives.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Ty Caton Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2009 Upper Bench Merlot, Sonoma Valley, Caton Vineyard
Winemaker: Ty Caton
The Sonoma Valley AVA is one of the oldest wine growing regions in California with the first vines being planted in the early 1800s. The AVA is located along California Route 12 and its eastern boundary are the southern end of the Mayacama mountains. The unique micro-climate with less rainfall and fog than other parts of the region along with its unique soil provides ideal growing conditions for Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Beautiful, iridescent maroon, with a thin ring of bright ruby, at the edge of the glass. Skinny, wine-colored tears fall slowly after swirling.
Smell – Lush and layered, with dark cherry, wild strawberry, dark raspberry, leather, dried meats and dark chocolate. Dark tobacco leaf, cigar box and dark leather follow on, as the wine opens up.
Feel – Soft across the front of the palate, then softly grippy as a medium body reveals itself, slowly drying the palate.
Taste – Complex, concentrated and darkly foreboding, flavors begin with ripe blackberry, black cherry, red plum and cassis. These give way to sweet spice, black pepper, dark cocoa powder, soft oak, leather, tobacco and subtle, delicious pencil shavings (graphite and cedar).
Finish – Very long and lingering with black and red fruit gradually yielding to the earthen characteristics of spice, cedar and leather.
Conclusion – Recommended! We absolutely love this wine! Today’s 2009 Ty Caton Upper Bench Merlot is the best we have sampled from Ty Caton. Loaded with juicy, dark fruit this wine finds its balance against fantastic earthy flavors. The soft, elegant feel transforms on the palate, eventually becoming softly dry and slightly grippy as minerals, oak, leather and spice remain behind. As the palate drys, one is encouraged to take another flavor-packed sip. Balanced acidity and great fruit make this wine an obvious food companion. Pair with nearly anything. We paired ours with a wild mushroom risotto and a side of spicy hard chorizo sausage. Absolute perfection!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Ty Caton Vineyards & winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the winery says
About This Wine:
This extraordinary Merlot greets the nose with rich aromas of black cherry followed by a lush mouth feel with layers of flavors including blackcurrant, plum and a touch of chocolate. Combine these flavors with soft and supple tannins and a long silky smooth finish and you have an unforgettable and sumptuous Merlot.
About The Winery:
Ty Caton Vineyards is dedicated to creating wines of distinction with an authentic sense of place. Our commitment to excellence begins in the Caton Vineyard, where Winemaker Ty Caton sustainably farms all of the grapes used in our Sonoma Valley wine. As one of the few exclusively estate producers in Sonoma Valley, California, Ty personally works with the grapes from soil to glass. He handcrafts his wines in small lots with an acute awareness of the land that enables him to make wines that truly showcase the vineyards. Ty Caton Vineyards is forging a new definition of quality in winemaking and Actively Seeking Excellence.
About The Vineyard:
CATON VINEYARD – Located in the foothills of Sonoma Valley, the Caton Vineyard is defined by its sustainable farming and belief that healthier vineyards produce very unique and distinctive wines. The vineyards have multiple sun exposures, soil types, and vary in altitude over 300 feet between each other. Our meticulous farming practices showcase the love for our land and our passion for the wines that come from it.
We achieve wines of authenticity by working with nature to showcase the true flavors of the grapes. Ty Caton personally manages the entire winemaking process, from planting the vines, to farming the grapes, to making the wine here in Sonoma Valley. By using exclusively estate grown grapes he is able to have complete control over the process and personally tend to the wine from soil to glass. His acute awareness of the land enables him to make wines that show the great potential of the vineyard site.
Ty Caton’s philosophy is that wine is a natural product and should be treated as such. His winemaking uses limited intervention, which allows the wines to speak for themselves and import the true expression of the vineyard. He ferments with wild yeast that naturally occurs in the grapes so that the wines are manipulated as little as possible. As a Sonoma Valley winemaker and grape grower he strives to produce the ‘wow factor’ by creating wines that are bold, highly extracted and beautifully structured. Ty Caton believes that blending is an art form and uses master blending techniques to combine different grape varieties and clones to create wines with many layers of complexity in aroma and flavor. By allowing the grapes to show their true character and enhancing it through blending, Ty Caton is forging a new definition of quality in Sonoma Valley winemaking.
Varietal: 83% Merlot, 17% Syrah
Appellation: Sonoma Valley
Region: Estate Grown, Caton Vineyard
Production: 434 Cases