"The hardest thing a winemaker can do is make an award-winning, single-varietal wine from a single vineyard - no blending - nothing added - nothing removed - nothing covered-up." - Bill Williamson
Amour Merlot is always produced as 100% Merlot from a single lot in our estate vineyard. Barrel-aged in French oak, Amour has won double gold medals (unanimous judge's decision) in the largest competition of American wines in the world.
Williamson Amour Merlot ®
This wine has a perfect ruby color and wonderful blackberry aromas. Taken in the mouth the luscious ripe blackberry fruit and licorices extend into soft tannin with a well balanced acidity.
It’s never blended because, as a pure, single vineyard Merlot, it showcases our vineyard and our wine making. The fact that it inevitably wins gold medals in competition is also a nice accomplishment, underlining this wine’s quality and value.
Amour - The Name
Amour is the French word meaning "love" because everyone loves this unique, single-vineyard, non blended Merlot and to honor Cecile, our original french wine maker mentor.
Amour - The Wine
Terroir is vital to grow great Merlot and in our home estate vineyards we have been quietly growing and bottling some of the most dazzling, ultra-premium Merlot imaginable.
Soil profiles, prepared in March, 1990 showed 110” of loam and silty loam and 100” of loam and sandy loam across the vineyard profile. resulted in a Sandy loam with 63.4% sand, 5% silt, and 31.6% clay produced from degraded limestone. Clay soils contain a high Citation Exchange Capacity enabling the soil to provide more nutrients to the vines adding complexity and unique attributes to the grape flavor profile. We believe our soil chemistry profile is very similar to that found in the Saint-Émilion and here we decided to grow Merlot.
Starting with the highly regarded Pétrus Clone 181 of Merlot from Pomerol our vines are planted in this rich, clay-loam over gravel soils which retain their humidity in summer, considered perfect for Merlot.
Clone 181, prone to early bud break, is fairly vigorous producing pendulous fruit clusters. The spherical, blue-black, medium size berries show a reasonable thickness of skin, a juicy pulp and a wonderful rich, opulent flavor.
Amour - The Food
A soft, rounded wine deserves to be paired with a soft, rounded food. Think in terms of foods that have:
- Texture - Soft
- Flavor - Single, non-complex flavor
- Spice - Very low spice content
- Loves - Chocolate
Our Merlot likes foods with a single, delicate flavor that might include fats. Non-spiced meats such as pork chop, rack of lamb or filet mignon. Grilled salmon or sautéed chicken breast. Anything chocolate! For fruit pairings try fresh blackberries or raspberries. More . . .
Merlot is one of the best-selling retail red wines in the United States. In the last decade it developed a reputation for being mediocre. This was largely due to its success. While growing high quality Merlot grapes can be challenging, the vines will grow in all types of soils so because of the wine’s success it was widely planted, often in the wrong place. Over planted and overproduced, the quality suffered.
Some say Merlot fell out of favor because of the movie “Sideways” and Miles’ misguided, anti-Merlot tirade. But Miles is the same guy who ripped off his own mother. The same guy who drank from the dump bucket. The same guy who lovingly raved about his favorite wine, a 1961 Cheval Blanc, a wine comprised of about fifty-percent Merlot. So maybe Miles is not the right guy to give wine advice and the most compelling reason of all is that Miles is only a fictional character! It really is OK to like Merlot, especially our Amour Merlot.
The power and prestige of French wine is based in Bordeaux. Merlot has been cultivated in Bordeaux for centuries. It is an essential component in virtually all classic Bordeaux blends.
Bordeaux is about blending grapes. Unlike California where most wines manifest one varietal such as Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, Bordeaux is about the marriage of varietals to create a union that lasts and the best Bordeaux last for decades.
Bordeaux wines are divided into “Right Bank” or “Left Bank” wines referring to the banks of the Gironde River. The Left Bank is predominately Cabernet Sauvignon, and the Right Bank is predominately Merlot.
South of the Gironde River, the “Left Bank”, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc are supported by Merlot in typical Medoc blends including, Margaux, Pauillac, St. Estephe, St. Julien, and Graves.
North of Bordeaux's Gironde River, the “Right Bank”, Merlot historically is the basis of the wines of the St. Emilion and Pomerol appellations and here Merlot is the jewell. Château Pétrus and Château Le Pin, leaders in Bordeaux wines, are about 90% Merlot.
At the Paris Exhibition of 1878, Pomerol’s Château Pétrus was awarded its first gold medal, an event of great consequence, establishing a selling price at the level of a Médoc second growth, the first wine of Pomerol to ever achieve this exalted position. In like fashion our Amour Merlot has won double gold medal (unanimous judge's decision) in the largest competition of American wines in the world.