1999 Behrens & Hitchcock "Unfiltered Reserve" Napa Valley Merlot

SKU #1219922

Praise from Stephen Tanzer: "Leslie Behrens and Bob Hitchcock (Behrens is the winemaker and Hitchcock the money man) began making wine in 1993 in the wilds of Humboldt County, then moved to an isolated spot at the top of Spring Mountain, where they built a winery in time for the 1999 harvest. This is very much a garage operation: Behrens and Hitchcock work with very ripe fruit ("all of our wines are high in alcohol," admits Behrens), ferment at high temperature, doing a lot of punching down of the cap, and use a very low percentage of new barrels to age their wines. Production has grown slowly and steadily to about 4,500 cases per year. These are wild and sometimes rustic wines with clearly expressed personalities; they are the antithesis of the cookie-cutter Merlots and Cabs produced by most North Coast wineries to the specifications of their marketing departments." (05/2001)

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Price: $44.99
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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year.
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Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.