Wine of the week: Bogle 2009 California Merlot

]Eric Aafedt says the uninitiated are surprised to learn that there are some great merlots out there.

Aafedt is the winemaker behind our wine-of-the-week winner - the Bogle 2009 California Merlot at the recession-proof price of $9.

"I think during the glut, many consumers were exposed to weedy, herbal, simple wine that turned them off of merlot," Aafedt said. "And, of course, people are surprised to learn that the '61 Cheval Blanc the merlot-hating Miles character in the 2004 hit film &‘Sideways' was saving for a special occasion is a blend of cabernet franc and merlot."

True merlot character, according to Aafedt, relies on a great climate and lots of leaf-pulling so the fruit has plenty of sun exposure, reducing some of the vegetative qualities merlot can have.

Bogle's $9 price is only possible because the winery owns the majority of its vineyards, Aafedt said. The winery made 270,000 cases and with the 2009 vintage rolling into the marketplace in February, the merlot is widely available.

Bottled in Sebastopol, Bogle is made in a traditional way, aging every vineyard block separately.

"This approach allows us the creativity in blending and a continued evaluation of the vineyard block itself," Aafedt said.

He said the house-style Bogle is shooting for is a "varietally correct merlot with a fruit-forward style."

Aafedt joined the winery in 1994 and became the winemaker in 2000. He was assistant winemaker with Concannon Vineyards in Livermore prior to Bogle.

He grew up in the Livermore Valley and as a teenager he moved irrigation pipe, drove tractors, and worked on the bottling lines.

"The diversity of skills required to make wine fascinated me," Aafedt said. "The wineries I worked in at a young age were amazing places to be. Surrounded by vineyards, these wineries were full of people who loved what they did. I believed early on I would make wine for a living."

[END_CREDIT_0]Wine writer Peg Melnik can be reached at 521-5310 or

Peg Melnik

Wine, The Press Democrat

Northern California is cradled in vines; it’s Wine County at its best in America. My job is to help you make the most of this intriguing, agrarian patch of civilization by inviting you to partake in the wine culture – the events, the bottlings and the fun. This is a space to explore wine, what you care about or don’t know about yet.

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