2006 Ehlers Cab and Merlot

Ehlers Estate Winery, in St. Helena California, has been producing since the year 2000 and is the only non-profit winery I’m aware of – anywhere. 100% of its proceeds go into cardiovascular research. The reason for this is because its founder, Jean Leduqa, was a longtime sufferer of heart disease – hence why his wife, Sylviane, started a foundation in her husband’s name to aid in that type of R&D. So not only are you helping your own heart with a hearty glass of red wine, you can also know your business with Ehlers goes to help those around the world as well.

In this tasting, I’m looking at the 2006 releases of its Cab and Merlot – both of which are priced at $45. I know that’s on the higher-end of pricing for most folks in today’s economy, but is actually pretty “normal” for Napa-pricing – so I hope these prove to rock me for those prices.

2006 Merlot St. Helena: W.E.P. Rating: 90%

  • Vintage: 2006
  • Varietal: Merlot
  • Final Blend: 79% Merlot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot Fruit
  • Source: 100% estate grown Farming: California Certified Organic Farmer 
  • Harvest Date: Sept. 26 – Oct. 12, 2006
  • Acid: 5.7g/L TA
  • PH: 3.74 pH
  • Aging: 18 months in oak, 85% French oak, 40% new
  • Bottling Date: June 16 – 17, 2008
  • Brix at harvest: 25
  • Price: $45

Nose: dark chocolate, tobacco, green onion, blackberry, black cherry, mildewy V8 juice mixed with cocoa-cola blows off after awhile to a nice cedar-laden forest floor, vanilla and toasted marshmellows.

Taste: Think of this wine as a vanilla-laced piece of dark chocolate that’s smothered in blackberry and blueberry jam then topped with some cedar chips and funk – sittin’ there, looking you straight in the eyeballs, just screaming at you to eat it. The finish on this wine lasts for weeks and continues to provide a good jolt of reach-around.

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena: W.E.P. Rating: 90%

  • Vintage: 2006
  • Final Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc 
  • Fruit Source: 100% estate grown Farming: California 
  • Appellation: St. Helena
  • Harvest Date: October 9 – 26, 2006
  • Sugar: 18 months in oak, 100% French oak, 65% new
  • Acid: 6.1g/L TA
  • PH: 3.61pH
  • Brix at Harvest: 25.2
  • Bottling Date: June 16 – 17, 2008
  • Alcohol %: 14.1% alcohol by volume
  • Price: $45

Nose: ”Forest-funk” combined with classic cherry, rose petal, plum and raspberry. A bit of cola action on the nose as well. I’m also picking up some spice as well. 

Taste: Black pepper, dark cherries, hints of raspberry and spice. I’m also get some chocolate, big league chew, eucaliptus and tobacco. A bit of caramel and tar action too on the back of the palate. this is a really good cab that’d rock the ball right out of the park when paired with a pan-seared, pepper-crusted steak. The finish is like the settled-down middle-aged person that knows who he/she is and where they’re going in life – very solid. 

Winery website: www.ehlersestate.com