On Wednesday’s blog post, we told you all about Harris Merlot, which has a long-standing relationship with Eddie Merlot’s. The wine is created by Nickel & Nickel, a California winery that makes that merlot as well as the Medina Chardonnay, which we’re exploring today. Since February 1, diners at our restaurants have been able to purchase the Medina Chardonnay by the glass.
Here’s part two of our conversation with Jim Doehring, Central U.S. Sales Manager of Nickel & Nickel.
Tell us about the area where the Chardonnay grapes grow for your Medina Chardonnay.
Jim Doehring: “Medina grows in the Russian River Valley. It’s a small vineyard, only 14 acres, and the vines are nice old vines planted in 1969, on a rolling slope in Goldridge loam. That Goldridge loam is a light, sandy soil that allows great drainage. If you throw a handful of it in the air, the particles almost hang there for a moment or two. The Russian River Valley offers a great climate for Chardonnay. The grapes benefit from the wonderful coastal influence and those foggy mornings pouring into the area.”
Do Chardonnay grapes have to stay on the vine longer than merlot?
“It’s back and forth. It’s vineyard to vineyard. Napa Valley Chardonnay is one of the first things to come in. In Russian River, we have some vineyards that we don’t normally pick until late September or early October.”
We discussed the company’s use of French oak barrels yesterday. Do you use that for the Medina Chardonnay as well?
“Yes, we use French oak for all of our wines. We use a combination of new barrels and one-year used, about a 50/50 mix, depending on the vineyard. It’s a combination that contributes to the flavor and textural profile we’re looking for in our wines.”
How would you describe the Medina Chardonnay?
“It is a delicate, very feminine Chardonnay. It has beautiful acidity. Then you get a beautiful minerality, and citrus fruit, a little lemon and orange rind. It’s that perfect wine you’d think of drinking out on the patio on a summer evening. The grapes are whole cluster pressed, so it’s a very clean, bright expression of chardonnay.”
What’s been the best year for the Medina Chardonnay?
“We haven’t had a bad year. We’ve made the Medina since 2005, and it’s been consistently good.”
For the full Eddie Merlot’s wine list, see our web site. Please note that wine selections vary by location: http://www.eddiemerlots.com/Menu-and-Wine-List/Wine/About-our-Wine-191.html