BLACKBIRD VINEYARDS

Purchased by Michael Polenske in 2003, Blackbird Vineyards (a former walnut orchard first planted with 5, 717 Merlot vines in 1997) is now an ultra premium label in its own right. Fittingly, the word ‘Merlot’ is French patois for ‘little blackbird.’

An early harbinger of Blackbird’s potential arose when Mia Klein of Dalla Valle fame created a Blackbird Vineyard designate for her highly acclaimed 1999 Selene Merlot (no less than 95% of the fruit in the bottle must be from the named vineyard). Three of the top wine critics in the industry – Robert Parker, Stephen Tanzer, and Wine Spectator’s James Laube – scored this wine in the 90s.