We originally planted 9 acres of Merlot but soon decided that our Frostwatch Vineyard is a little too cool to reliably ripen fruit that would produce the rich, stylish wines that we enjoy. We have since replanted or topped over all but one small block to other varieties better suited to our site. 2010 was a cool vintage and we never even picked our Merlot opting instead to feed the hungry starlings that swarm across Sonoma County after harvest to pick the vines clean. 2011 was another cool vintage but this time early, aggressive crop thinning allowed us to get the fruit ripe. Originally, a little bit lean and tight, we hung on to this vintage allowing it to age for an additional year in bottle. We are delighted with the result. This wine affirms our belief that Bennett Valley Merlot can be exceptional!