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McIntyre Family Wines
November 8, 2022 | McIntyre Family Wines

Steve McIntyre; Merlot Speaks, We Listen. Exploring the Wine Glass

It’s Monday, Let’s raise a glass to the beginning of another week. It’s time to unscrew, uncork or saber a bottle and let’s begin Exploring the Wine Glass! Today I am continuing the celebration of #MerlotMe month with Steve McIntyre of McIntyre Vineyards in  Monterey County. We talk about the impact the Santa Lucia Mtns have on the vineyards and the impact climate has on the final Merlot product. We taste through a vertical, comparing the 2016 and 2017 vintage. And they truly show how Mother Nature plays a role. So grab a glass of Merlot, get cozy and give a listen!

If you enjoy Exploring the Wine Glass, I’d appreciate you giving me some love by taking two minutes out of your day and swipe to rate and review on whatever app you listen on. It is the best way to support the show. Also, if you would like to keep up on everything Exploring the Wine Glass, head over to exploringthewineglass.com and sign up for the newsletter.

Explore this Podcast in several options

Time Posted: Nov 8, 2022 at 10:00 AM Permalink to Steve McIntyre; Merlot Speaks, We Listen. Exploring the Wine Glass Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
January 5, 2021 | McIntyre Family Wines

à votre santé!

Review by JVB Uncorked << Article Here >>

McIntyre Vineyards 2015 Merlot, Kimberly Vineyards, Arroyo Seco AVA; Santa Rosa, CA.
14%ABV, SRP $25/bottle on release. 

Color is deep garnet center with ruby edging. The nose offers brooding black fruit, tobacco leaf, forest floor, and star anise. On the palate is a pleasing mixture of blackberry, plum, and black currants, with tertiary notes of mocha, cedar box, pencil shavings, and spiced vanilla.

The complexity of this wine might surprise you. It reminded me first, of how hauntingly beautiful and decadent merlot can be,  and secondly, and that my cellar is lacking in high-quality, single vineyard merlot!

Many winemakers spend their time on Merlot’s sibling- the OTHER child grape of Cabernet Franc: the often highly-priced Cabernet Sauvignon, which are the bodybuilders of the wine world. Too many winemakers ignore Merlot, who, like Meryl Streep and Dustin Hoffman, will delight and amaze with their subtle performances time and time again, with chameleon-like skill to adapt to roles so that the publiccould not imagine another actor in that role. That is the beauty of Merlot, and that is what you can expect from this bottle: maturity, depth, complexity, and elegance.  

I paired this impressive bottle over the course of a week with various dishes: potted steak and root vegetables; a second night with pasta with broccoli and garlic sauce; a third evening with baked salmon, greens and sweet potato.  The wine maintained the complex nose, dark flavor palette, structure, tannins, and acidity beautifully over the duration.

Do not let the price fool you, this is a beautiful wine that demonstrates the immense care and skill taken with vineyard and viticulture, as well as a controlled, specifically minimalistic winemaking process to allow the grape to show brilliance and its finest characteristics. This wine could easily sell at twice the price.

Winemaker Steve McIntyre continues to demonstrate how passionate winemakers can offer mature, top level, lip-smacking wines at a tremendous value to the general public with wines of such a high level of care and craftsmanship, while maintaining sustainability to the soul of the Santa Lucia Highlands and Salinas Valley. Bravo!  

What’s In YOUR glass?


#mcintyrewines #arroyoseco #merlot #review #wine

Time Posted: Jan 5, 2021 at 3:00 PM Permalink to à votre santé! Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
October 20, 2020 | McIntyre Family Wines

#MerlotMe Month - You had me at Merlot

McIntyre Per Ardua Kimberly Vineyards Red Blend 2016

Full Article Here , Syrah Queen (October 10, 2020)


Per Ardua is the ancient Gallic motto for clan McIntyre. It means “Thru Difficulty,” a sentiment that is as significant today in the Santa Lucia Highlands as it was two centuries ago for our ancestors in the Scottish Highlands. This is a wine with a lot of personalities.  There arearomatic notes of cherry, tobacco and oak. McIntyre Per Ardua is a precisely structured wine with finesse and balance.  This wine is a real treat and deserves an equally special dish like Beef Wellington.



What's So Special About Merlot?

Full Article Here   Jill Barth (October 10, 2020)

Merlot has got some major vineyard acres under its belt. It is planted so widely that there’s only one wine grape with more roots in the ground, and that’s Cabernet Sauvignon.

According to Wine Business Monthly: “Merlot is grown all across the globe, including countries as diverse as Italy, Romania, Australia, Argentina, Bulgaria, Chile, Greece, Hungary, Mexico and South Africa. It is the second most-planted grape in Israel and can be found in Turkey, Croatia and Slovenia. In the United States, California and Washington have had the most success with the variety, but even Long Island, New York is having a successful go with it.”

It’s popular for good reason. It has the chops to adapt to a variety of climates and still retain an approachable, supple texture. It’s a key element in Bordeaux, a cornerstone to the iconic blends there, with some estimates reporting that two-thirds of Merlot in the world is at home in France.

Merlot has sides. Climate expression, from cool to warm, brings out profile differences. The New World and Old World also treat this variety differently.                             

Time Posted: Oct 20, 2020 at 6:00 PM Permalink to #MerlotMe Month - You had me at Merlot Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
July 14, 2020 | McIntyre Family Wines

NEW Praises from Wine Enthusiast



Earns 93 points from Wine Enthusiast, published 1/1/2020

The Santa Lucia Highlands is known for ripeness and power, yet this is a delicate floral-enhanced bottling. Aromas of rich strawberry are cut by wet slate, gravel and rose petals, while the fresh and flavorful palate combines hibiscus cream, raspberry sorbet
and white pepper.
~ $38 ~


Earns 92 points from Wine Enthusiast, published 1/1/2020
Polished aromas of blackberry and black currant meet with toasted oak, cocoa, coffee, and iron on the nose of this bottling. There is compelling minerality to the palate, giving depth to the smashed strawberry and dried lilac flowers. Drink now-2030
Buy yours today, less than 40 cases remain!
~ $28 ~


Click the image or the wine's name to purchase these wines today!

Time Posted: Jul 14, 2020 at 3:03 PM Permalink to NEW Praises from Wine Enthusiast Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
May 4, 2020 | McIntyre Family Wines

McIntyre Wins Healthy Soils Grant!

The Healthy Soils Program (HSP) stems from the California Healthy Soils Initiative, a collaboration of state agencies and departments to promote the development of healthy soils on California's farmlands and ranchlands. The HSP Incentives Program provides financial assistance for implementation of conservation management that improve soil health, sequester carbon and reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The HSP Demonstration Projects showcase California farmers and rancher's implementation of HSP practices. Flowering Cover Crop at McIntyre Vineyards

After CDFA’s careful study and analysis of our application, Monterey Pacific, Inc was awarded a grant that helped us fund two exciting projects: one at McIntyre Vineyard and the other at Brayden Vineyard. In partnership with the Xerces Society, we created a customized plant list consisting of species that were appropriate with each site and worked well with our climate. We were able to plant a hedgerow with native drought resistant plants like Milkweed, Salvia, Elderberry, and Manzanita, to name a few. We also planted a cover crop with a mix of flowering annuals and perennials to attract beneficial insects and to provide nectar year-round for pollinators. 

These efforts, planting hedgerow and cover crops, will enhance our biodiversity within the vineyard and provide habitat for endangered pollinators and food sources for beneficial insect population. Increasing our biodiversity allows us to reduce our need for pesticides because we will rely on biological controls for the pests and weeds. 

Now that we’ve been able to plant the hedgerow and cover crops, we will follow the growth and transformation of the agro-ecosystem in the years to come. As we follow its growth, we can compare the cover cropped rows with the unplanted rows in our other vineyards and witness the effect of natural predators on the pest populations. We will also be tracking the GHG reduction in the soil. 

We hope to see immediate benefits within these first few years. A burst in the insect population, will increase the bird population, which feeds on these insects. Since we have a year round cover crop, which we mow instead of till, this keeps carbon sequestered in the soil and enhances microbial activity. And as time progresses, the rest of the ecosystem will restore itself as long as we maintain the hedgerow and cover crops. 

We are excited to see this beautiful transformation of our agro-ecosystem for years to come!

Time Posted: May 4, 2020 at 3:30 PM Permalink to McIntyre Wins Healthy Soils Grant! Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
December 16, 2019 | McIntyre Family Wines

Have your parents had "the Talk" with you about Merlot? (Fred Swan)

McIntyre Merlot Kimberly Vineyard Arroyo Seco 2015

By fredswan@norcalwine.com. Published on December 15, 2019. {FULL ENTRY HERE}

McIntyre is best-known for their vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. The Pinot Noir vineyard, originally planted in 1972, arguably includes the first vitis vinifera planted in the region. But this article isn’t about the Santa Lucia Highlands or Pinot Noir or old vines. It’s about McIntyre Merlot you should buy by the case(s).

Have your Parents had “the Talk” with you about Merlot?

Before I get into this particular wine, let’s get some things out of the way about Merlot in general. If you’re old enough, you liked California Merlot in the 1980s. You hated Merlot in the late 1990s. You saw Sideways in 2004. And then you swore off Merlot in favor of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and obscure but yummy wines from places in Europe nobody can find on a map. OMG, me too!

If you’re young, you never liked Merlot. You never hated Merlot. You never saw the movie. And you skipped straight to Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, and obscure but yummy wines from places in Europe nobody can find on a map. I love your efficiency!

Fast forward… These days, Merlot isn’t an “It” grape. So, people who grow it are serious about it. People who order it expect quality—at prices lower than Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon. And that brings me back to the 2015 McIntyre Merlot, which we’ve agreed you’re buying by the case(s).

2015 McIntyre Merlot Kimberly Vineyard Arroyo Seco AVA 92+ 14.4% 750ml $…

This Merlot is from the Arroyo Seco AVA, which is just south of—and warmer than—the Santa Lucia Highlands. It’s still a moderately cool region and primarily associated with Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. It has a long, dry, temperate growing season. That means growers can let their Merlot hang for as long as they like and the fruit will get ripe without losing much acidity or tannic structure.

Or tannic structure. Or tannic structure. The 2015 McIntyre Merlot, from their Kimberly Vineyard in Arroyo Seco, has beautiful black cherry fruit. And it has tannic structure for days.

How many days? That depends on your approach. In my case, for review purposes, it was three days. But it could be 1,825 days, or 3,650.

Upon initial opening and pouring, the opaque, ruby-purple Merlot offered friendly aromas of sweet spices, bing cherry jam, and cocoa. The first sip delivered full body with flavors that matched the nose. Then, the fine-grained, powdery and chalky tannins kicked in.

Tannins are attracted to protein. If you’re not eating protein-rich food with your wine, tannins collect the proteins in your saliva. Unfortunately, your taste buds rely on those same proteins. So, substantial tannins + no meat = short finish. The remedies are food, thorough decanting, or aging (aging the wine, not you, though they do seem to go hand-in-hand).

Meanwhile, back at the wine… After a few more grippy sips, I let it breathe in my glass for three hours. Re-tasting then showed no appreciable difference. That isn’t a bad thing. It can be a good thing. But it’s a thing you should know.

I put the cork back in the bottle and stored it in the fridge for three days. Then I poured myself a glass and let it come up to temperature for a couple of hours. I tasted the wine. It was the same as it had been three days before, except there was now a gorgeous cassis note on the nose too. Cassis notwithstanding, it was time for Plan D. 

I poured the wine into a decanter in a way that maximized air exposure. Then I poured it slowly back into the bottle, using a funnel, in a way that maximized air exposure. Then I poured it back into the decanter in a way that maximized air exposure. Then I let it sit there for an hour. 

Presto, change-o. The tannins were, and still are as I write this more than an hour later, thick and textural, but also luxurious and on the way to velvety. And they don’t get in the way of the finish, which is now long and delicious. Drinking it with some beef, the tannins are positively velvety.

So, How Much does the McIntyre Merlot Cost, Anyway?

The 2015 McIntyre Merlot comes in a heavy, thick-glassed bottle with a deep punt. Heavy bottles are expensive and associated with high-quality wines. Deep punts accommodate a lot of sediment (which precipitates over years in a cellar) and are associated with wines intended to age. Both suggest an expensive wine. The McIntyre Merlot is just $28.

Hence my mention of cases. If you like red wine that is full in the mouth, with rich, ripe—not overripe—fruit and plush tannins, you’re going to like this wine a lot. And, because of the structure, moderate acidity, and an abundance of fruit, it should age quite well. The tannins will slowly diminish and complexity will build. 

So, I’d consider buying a case. Open a bottle every two years. When the wine’s in a spot you love, go hog-wild on the rest. If you can afford two cases now, you can go hog-wilder later. I suspect the sweet spot will start in about five years, but it depends on how you like your wines and how cold your cellar is.


McIntyre Vineyards is SIP Certified.

[Sustainability is important and I think consumers should know which wineries are making an effort. From now on, I’ll be including notes on sustainability status for wines and wineries in articles when possible.]

Copyright Fred Swan 2019. Images courtesy of McIntyre Vineyards. All rights reserved.

About the author: Fred Swan is an Oakland-based writer, educator, and event sommelier. He’s written for GuildSomm.com, Daily.SevenFifty.com, The Tasting Panel, SOMM Journal, PlanetGrape.com, and more. Fred teaches a wide range of classes at the San Francisco Wine School. He’s founder/producer of Wine Writers’ Educational Tours, an annual, educational conference for professional wine writers. He also leads seminars, private wine tours, and conducts tastings, dinners, and events for wineries, companies, and private parties. Fred’s certifications include WSET Diploma, Certified Sommelier, California Wine Appellation Specialist, Certified Specialist of Wine, French Wine Scholar, Italian Wine Professional, Napa Valley Wine Educator, Northwest Wine Appellation Specialist, and Level 3 WSET Educator. He’s twice been awarded a fellowship by the Symposium for Professional Wine Writers.

Time Posted: Dec 16, 2019 at 3:00 PM Permalink to Have your parents had Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
November 6, 2019 | McIntyre Family Wines

Exploring Meatless Merlot Pairings

Proprietor Steve McIntyre is one of the most knowledgeable viticulturists in California.  As owner/operator of Monterey Pacific, he and his team farm 12,000 acres in Monterey County and have planted or farmed nearly one quarter of the vineyards in the renowned Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. 

The McIntyre Estate Vineyard lies in the “sweet spot” of Monterey County’s Santa Lucia Highlands AVA, a 12-mile stretch of benchland renowned for production wines of character and complexity. Originally planted in 1973, the 80-acre site (60 acres planted) boasts some of the Highlands’ oldest Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. The winery’s other estate property is the 81-acre Kimberly Vineyard in Arroyo Seco.  The Arroyo Seco AVA produces deep, powerful, well-structured Merlot. The McIntyre Estate Vineyard was among the first properties in the Santa Lucia Highlands to be SIP (Sustainability in Practice) Certified. 

Fruit for the 2015 McIntyre Vineyards Merlot Kimberly Vineyard was sourced from 20 year old vines.  It pours a nearly opaque garnet with dark and red fruit, violets, tobacco, licorice, and a hint of cola aromas. On the palate it’s full bodied and elegant with vibrant acidity and velvety well integrated tannins. It shows ripe blackberry, black cherry, black currant, a hint of boysenberry vanilla, graphite, licorice and savory spice flavors with a hint of cacao and a very satisfying finish. 14% abv|SRP-$25. Wonderful QPR with this alluring wine.  (Martin Redmond, Enoflyz Blog)

Time Posted: Nov 6, 2019 at 1:00 PM Permalink to Exploring Meatless Merlot Pairings Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
July 18, 2019 | McIntyre Family Wines

JVB Uncorked reviews Rose

Color is a medium and warm coral pink. The nose is heavy with wildflowers, followed with a hint of rose bush and sage. In the mouth, superbly dry, delicate raspberry on the front palate while heat moves quickly across the top and back palate; the sides and back palate observe ripe cherry, young raspberry and yellow peach with a lovely tart finish that lingers, then wanes in the mouth. This wine paired beautifully with grilled chicken and asparagus, then again with rice and vegetables the following day, and again once more with a vegetarian black bean tostada. If you are looking for a well-made, sustainably-certified rosé of pinot noir, this may be your zenith; I certainly would pick it up again without hesitation.

If you are a fan of rosés that are made sustainably and simply, exhibiting beauty from minimal intervention and indigenous yeasts, you owe it to yourself to try McIntyre Rosé of Pinot Noir. 


à votre santé!                                                          (full article link is in picture)

Time Posted: Jul 18, 2019 at 3:00 PM Permalink to JVB Uncorked reviews Rose Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
June 14, 2019 | McIntyre Family Wines

McIntyre Family Wines Breaks Ground in Santa Lucia Highlands

SALINAS, California – May 1, 2019 – The McIntyre family has broken ground on the first phase of their winery hospitality center at their McIntyre Estate Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA of Monterey County. The new facility will be located on the River Road Wine Trail, approximately five miles from the city of Gonzales, California.

Phase 1 of the hospitality center plan includes a large park and an outdoor amphitheater for small and large events. The park will feature a pedestrian tunnel that will eventually serve as the entrance to an underground barrel room. Ultimately, when the project is finished, there will be a tasting room, offices, courtyard, kitchen and a winery facility. Phase 1 is scheduled to be finished by mid-August of 2019.

Steve McIntyre has a long history in the Santa Lucia Highlands that stretches nearly four decades. He has planted and farmed more than 20% of the entire AVA and vinified hundreds of wines from its grapes. Steve McIntyre knows the soils and the climate of SLH and understands what makes this celebrated region so special.

“The Santa Lucia Highlands is one of the world’s greatest regions for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay,” says Steve McIntyre. “It’s also one of the most serene places in California. When our customers visit our property, touch our soil, taste our wines and talk to our family, they have a much deeper appreciation of what we are trying to accomplish. Our new hospitality center will give wine lovers a front-row seat to the Santa Lucia Highlands and McIntyre Family Wines.”

The public is currently invited to taste McIntyre Wines at their Tasting Studio in the Crossroads Shopping Center off Hwy 1 and Rio Road in Carmel. The Carmel location is open Tuesday – Sunday from 11 am – 6 pm. For more information on the Tasting Studio call 831-626-6268 or email taste@mcintyrevineyards.com.


Time Posted: Jun 14, 2019 at 1:00 PM Permalink to McIntyre Family Wines Breaks Ground in Santa Lucia Highlands Permalink
McIntyre Family Wines
October 12, 2018 | McIntyre Family Wines

New Releases from Santa Lucia Highlands & Neighbors by Josh Raynolds

Steve McIntyre owns a sizable chunk of vineyard land in the Central Coast, with his 80-acre site in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands and another 81 acres in Arroyo Seco. The Santa Lucia Highlands site, which McIntyre has owned since 1987, was planted in 1973, making it one of the oldest in the region.


2017 Rosé of Pinot Noir:  90 pts     *Support Breast Cancer with this bottle*

"Pale orange-pink. Bright and energetic on the incisive nose, displaying fresh red berry, orange zest and floral scents and a subtle herbalnuance. Chewy and taut in the mouth, offering zesty strawberry and bitter cherry flavors that take a sweeter turn with aeration. A minerally note adds cut to the finish, which lingers with very good, floral-accented tenacity."

2014 Estate Old Vine Pinot Noir: 94 pts

"Deep bright-hued red. A complex bouquet evokes candied red berries, cola, incense and floral oils, and a suggestion of vanilla emerges as the wine stretches out. Fleshy and alluringly sweet, offering black raspberry and cherry-vanilla flavors that are energized and given lift by a jolt of juicy acidity. Blends power and finesse with a sure hand and shows no rough edges. The floral and cola notes return on a strikingly long, energetic finish that's shaped by smooth tannins."

2015 Per Ardua Red Blend: 92 pts     *Wine Club Only until November 2018*

"Vivid ruby. Perfumed aromas of cherry preserves, red currant, pipe tobacco, cedary oak and dark chocolate. Broad and fleshy in the mouth, offering sweet red fruit liqueur and mocha flavors that take a darker turn on the back half. Cassis and cherry qualities linger impressively on the finish, which is framed by dusty, building tannins."  

2016 Estate Pinot Noir:  91 pts 

"(one-third new French oak) Brilliant red. Lively, mineral-laced red fruit, floral and cola aromas are accompanied by vanilla and woodsmoke nuances. Juicy and energetic on the palate, offering bitter cherry and raspberry flavors that become sweeter on the back half. Shows very good depth as well as energy and finishes long and smooth, with strong, red-fruit-driven persistence and silky tannins that add subtle grip."

2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay:  90 pts 

"(30% new French oak) Light bright yellow. Fresh peach, melon and tangerine on the fragrant nose. Juicy and pliant on the palate, offering gently sweet orchard and pit fruit flavors that slowly tighten up on the back half. In a fresh, forward style, with no rough edges. The appealingly sweet, nicely persistent finish leaves a hint of honeydew melon behind."

2016 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir:  90 pts

"Vivid red. Ripe red berries, sassafras, rose oil and a hint of mocha on the perfumed nose. Silky and energetic in the mouth, offering pliant raspberry and cherry flavors that are sharpened by a peppery note. In a fruity, forward style, showing very good closing thrust, no obvious tannins and persistent red berry character."

2016 Estate K-1 Block Chardonnay:  93 pts     *Not released, coming soon!*

"Pale gold. Displays expansive aromas of ripe citrus and orchard fruits, along with smoky mineral, jasmine and toasted brioche qualities. Sweet, seamless and penetrating on the palate, offering intense pear nectar, tangerine and pineapple flavors that are braced by a spine of juicy acidity. Blends power and finesse with a sure hand and shows a seductively velvet-like texture. The floral and mineral notes come back strong on the finish, which hangs on with strong persistence."

2016 Estate Chardonnay:  92 pts 

"Limpid yellow. Vibrant, smoke- and mineral-accented aromas of fresh citrus and orchard fruits are complemented by a suave floral overtone that builds with aeration. Offers palate-staining pear and tangerine flavors that pick up a toasty lees note on the back half and shows excellent clarity. Deep yet lively in character, delivering solid finishing thrust and leaving a sexy, floral quality behind."

                                                                                [Full Article Here] 

Time Posted: Oct 12, 2018 at 10:00 AM Permalink to New Releases from Santa Lucia Highlands & Neighbors by Josh Raynolds Permalink