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Frei Brothers Winery crafts their wines in a gentle, traditional style enhanced through the use of modern technology that makes fruit the focus and showcases the best that each varietal and appellation have to offer. The grapes for Frei Brother Reserve Merlot were destemmed, but not crushed, to retain a significant portion of whole berries for fermentation. They find that whole berry fermentation produces concentrated dark fruit flavors in the finished Merlot. Both upright and horizontal rotary fermentors were used to gently mix the juice and skins, which prevents the extraction of tannic, bitter flavors. Fermentation temperatures were closely monitored and were kept between 85-88ºF. After fermentation, 100% of the wine completed malolactic fermentation to soften the acids and to add complexity. The wine was then aged in French and European oak barrels for an average of 6 months.
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