Schultz Wines 2016 Merlot

From Baton Rouge to Oregon

The first thing you’ll notice when you talk to Greg and Debbie Schultz is their accent. They are undeniably from the South. Baton Rouge, Louisiana to be specific. Technically, wine grapes do grow in Louisiana. But… let’s be honest. It’s too hot and it’s too humid.

So, when Greg and Debbie decided to make wine, they pulled up stakes in Baton Rouge and moved to Oregon. Due west of Jacksonville, they found a former cattle ranch in the Applegate Valley that was the perfect spot for a vineyard.

A 60-acre site, eventually half will be vineyard and half will remain forested. As a certified Master Gardener and Land Steward, Debbie is preserving trees, maintaining creek access for wildlife, and taking out non-native plants. Grapes were planted in 2015 and wines from their estate vineyard are just coming online now. (While we wait, they’re making wine with grapes purchased from nearby vineyards.)

Like many in Southern Oregon, they’ve partnered with winemaking impresario Linda Donovan to produce their wines. It’s a perfect pairing, combining the Schultz’s love of natural agricultural approaches with Donovan’s passion for sustainably produced wines.

Cellar 503 Tasting Notes

Schultz Wines, Grants Pass, Oregon
2016 Merlot

Three years ago, we featured the 2012 edition of this wine. It was such a hit that I knew I had to try the 2016. And it’s still so, so good.

This Merlot came from the Steelhead Run Vineyard, one of Southern Oregon’s most highly prized grape vineyards that consistently turns out amazing fruit. (Sidenote: The movie Sideways came out in 2004 and it was about California Merlot, so let’s not even go there, ok? This is an extraordinary wine.)

A 2016 vintage, this wine was aged for 21 months in a variety of oak barrels, just one-quarter new oak, then held in bottle for several years, so it’s ready to drink now.

A deep and rich wine, it is well balanced with notes of dark cherry, plum, leather and black pepper. As with all their wines, this one was created with no added yeast and was unfiltered and unfined. Only 121 cases produced.

As they say in Louisiana, this wine will “make ya slap ya momma!” (That’s a good thing!)

A Cellar 503 selection in February 2020, Spotlight on Southern Oregon Applegate Valley | Merlot

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