For many years, I’ve been a big fan of buttery, rich Mer Soleil Chardonnay where you can pick up lemon blossoms in the aroma of the wine from the Meyer lemons planted on the Mer Soleil property in the Santa Lucia Highlands of California. I was less familiar with Mer Soleil Reserve Pinot Noir ($39.99), until recently. Now I’m a fan of that Mer Soleil selection as well. It’s one of the wines produced by the Wagner Family of Wine.
A venerable California institution, the Wagner Family of Wine – currently operated by Chuck, Charlie, and Jenny Wagner – has a long and respected history of making wines in Napa Valley dating back to the 1850s. Some 45 years ago Chuck Wagner founded Caymus Vineyards with his mother and father, Lorna and Charlie Wagner. Today, Chuck, his older son Charlie, and older daughter Jenny are Wagner Family of Wine winemakers responsible for wines such as Mer Soleil Chardonnay, Conundrum, Red Schooner, and Emmolo, among others.
Speaking of adding a Pinot Noir option to Mer Soleil’s iconic Chardonnays, winemaker Charlie Wagner said, “It was only natural that we would add Pinot Noir to our Chardonnay offerings. The Santa Lucia Highlands is well-known as the perfect home for both these varietals, with a longer growing season that allows us to create wine of subtle intensity.”
Mer Soleil is named after the sea and the sun – two of nature’s forces that help to shape the character of Mer Soleil Reserve Pinot Noir. Wagner said that the goal was to “create a wine that tastes fresh and young.” Well, mission accomplished. The wine is only aged for nine months – mostly in new French oak. Pop the cork and you’ll discover dark fruit aromas of blueberry, cherry and plum with subtle smokiness. On the tongue, the wine is fairly full-bodied and lush for Pinot Noir, with fine tannins, rich cherry flavors, and hints of fennel. Pair this fine wine with your favorite duck or mushroom dishes.
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THIS CONTENT IS FROM UTAH BITES NEWSLETTER.
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Originally trained as an anthropologist, Ted Scheffler is a seasoned food, wine & travel writer based in Utah. He loves cooking, skiing, and spends an inordinate amount of time tending to his ever-growing herd of guitars and amplifiers.