2004 Valentine Mendocino County Merlot


The wines of Valentine Vineyards may be labeled as being from Mendocino; however, geographically, they lie within the Alexander Valley, albeit just across the Mendocino/Sonoma county line. This is Cabernet country. As in Napa’s “up valley,” enough fog rolls in to cool down the nights and extend the growing season, but late-ripening varieties love the hot and dry summer days. Alexander Valley Cabs are noted for rich flavors and a fleshy mouthfeel, as well as softer tannins, less concentration, lower alcohols, and more acidity than their Napa Valley counterparts. The vineyards farmed by the Valentine family were first planted by that modern-day Sonoma pioneer, Rodney Strong, in 1976. Bob Valentine acquired the vineyards in 1985, after a long career as an engineer, whose firm worked on some of the major bridges in the Bay Area. Bob Valentine would sell his vineyard’s excellent fruit to some of the region’s most illustrious wineries - while always making a few barrels for himself. But when his own wines began winning awards at home winemaker competitions and state fairs, it was impossible to avoid the pull to go commercial, and the Valentine Vineyards label was born. Longtime Hotei fans may remember, fondly, the vintages of Valentine Vineyards we used to sell. The supply ran out when, as Bob grew older, the company went back to operating solely as a grower. In 2015, well into his nineties, Bob Valentine passed away. Recently, in a corner of his cellar, a large quantity of Valentine Vineyards wine was discovered. Needless to say, Hotei snapped it up. Now, while the supply lasts, we are thrilled to be able, once again, to offer wines from excellent vintages in the early 2000s. This is an excellent opportunity to experience fine California wine with well over a decade of aging in excellent storage conditions. 


Just because Merlot can be smooth, round and easy to drink doesn’t mean it can’t age. Valentine’s 2004 Merlot offers Hotei fans a wonderful opportunity to taste a delicious Merlot as it enters maturity. While the dark black cherry and cassis remain in evidence, these primary flavors are counterbalanced with mellow notes of savory herbs and olives. Don't miss this opportunity to enjoy a mature, pleasure-filled California wine at an affordable price.

Tasting notes

Dark red garnet. Primary aromas of ripe blackberries, cassis and black cherry mingle with hints of green olive, sage, coffee and tar. The palate is full-bodied and lively with great depth of dark fruit flavors and silky tannins. This wine is aging gracefully and shows no signs of drying out or decline. 




80%Merlot, 20%Cabernet