Not that I pick favorites, but I tend to always have a pretty big crush on our Champoux Vineyard Merlot. Check out my interview with Charlie on this current favorite:
“So Charlie, I know you're a fan of Merlot. Let's talk about the Champoux Vineyard Merlot which is being featured in the May Club release.”
Question 1: When did you make the 1st vintage of Champoux Vineyard Merlot and how/why did it come into the line up?
2005. I didn’t really ask for it, Paul asked me if I wanted some and so I took it. There have never been too many people who have made it. I was making Champoux Merlot for 3 Rivers back when I started Fidelitas, and we have since that vintage.
Question 2: What Vintage of Champoux Merlot has been your favorite so far and why?
I think if I remember right I really liked the 2005 because it was one of the greatest vintages in WA. And really, the 2012. In our recent Champoux Showdown, I thought that it was really standing out in the line-up. If there was a third, it’d probably 2009. A vintage where it’s not too ripe or too warm…it needs a little hang time because it’s an early ripening variety. These were all maybe a little warmer vintages but the grapes still got the hang time.
Question 3: Do you tend to have special wine making practices that are unique to the Champoux Merlot?
Yes in that the Champoux wines can be so big and so tannic that we really monitor our fermentations to know when to pull things off so they don’t get too extracted. We’re using 2 ton fermenters and smaller on these wines. Keeping them small and manageable gives us different components. This is also a wine that can stand up to more new wood because it’s already so concentrated. It borders on one of those wines where it could almost be mistaken as Cabernet…I love to make that style of merlot and try to push it as far as I can in that direction.
Question 4: What’s the biggest difference between Champoux Merlot and Red Mountain Merlot?
Red Mountain can also provide big Merlot, but we’re generally not grabbing from just one vineyard spot. I find Red Mountain Merlot maybe has a little more finesse than these powerful, concentrated wines from Champoux Vineyard.
Question 5: Whats a random fact about the Champoux Merlot that we couldn't hear from anybody else?
Not very many people make it! It’s unique as a varietal wine.
Bonus Question! Favorite food to have with Champoux Merlot…
Hmmmmm. Probably something red meat. Like a filet.