Country/Region: United States - Oregon
Merriman Wines is an American Winery, located in Oregon. They are producing top of the line Pinot Noir from Yamhill Carlton AVA and also an old vine Chenin Blanc from Yakima Valley. The owner is Eric Brasher.
Mike joined in the Beer Revolution in his home state of Texas in 1993 and began brewing in earnest. This love of beverage culminated in a trip to Corvallis, Oregon, to attend a Fermentation Science course at the University of Oregon in 1997. On a field trip to the professor's house, Mike was introduced to home winemaking and back-yard viticulture. With his interest piqued, he joined his friend for harvests starting in 1998, and became hooked on the Willamette Valley wine scene. In 2006 he bought a vineyard under contract to Owen Roe, which allowed him to make his first four barrels of wine. It received a 90 from the Wine Spectator. After that, the decision was made to sell fewer grapes and make more wine. The majority of the grapes are still sold to Owen Roe, which makes their Merriman Vineyard, Kilmore, and Sharecroppers from the grapes. Production of Merriman Estate, the second label Cummins Road, as well as a Rose, will reach 1000 cases by harvest 2011.
Mike met head winemaker at Owen Roe, Erik Brasher, in 2008. Erik is a trained oenologist, as well as viticulturalist. When Erik left Owen roe, Mike soon followed, and the decision was made to make wine together. Erik discovered the old vine Chenin blanc vineyard in Yakima, Washington, and tends the grapes of just one block. This is the only Merriman Wines product that comes from outside the Merriman Vineyard.
Since the first vintage in 2006, Merriman Wines has been working to produce exceptional Oregon wines. The winery is named after owner Mike Merriman, a Texas native with a passion for Oregon and the world-class Pinot Noir produced there.
The vineyard was planted in 1999 on an east facing ridge, entirely to Pinot Noir. The vines are not irrigated, encouraging the roots to grow deeper into the ground in search of water. The clones planted are the Dijon 113,114,115,667, and 777, as well as Wadenswil and Pommard. We use only sustainable viticultural practices, and the Merriman Vineyard received LIVE and Salmon Safe certification in 2008. We crop the grapes in many blocks to just one cluster per shoot, ensuring ripeness and flavor development. Yields on top of the ridge can be as little as one ton per acre or even less in some years. It is that fruit which goes into the Merriman blend. The Cummins Road is a blend of some of the Dijon clone blocks, chosen to highlight the bright Pinot fruit from the vineyard hillside.
The dry farmed, east facing vineyard slope allows the cool breezes at night and warm morning sun to grow the grapes slowly, giving the wine its complexity and allowing the unique terroir of the vineyard to come through in your glass.