Surfrider is a special bottling of Bordeaux varietals by Rosenthal The Malibu Estate. The grapes for Surfrider come exclusively from Rosenthal’s estate in Newton Canyon, just four miles from the renowned beach and surfers’ haven at Malibu. Although only four miles away from the beach as the swallow flies, Rosenthal’s vineyards are eons away in terms of climate and terroir. All of Rosenthal’s vineyards are situated above the coastal fog line, at least 1,400 feet above the sea, and they are completely sheltered from the salt and spray of the Pacific. These vineyards do, however, receive cooling breezes, which intensify the aroma and fruit for which Rosenthal’s The Malibu Estate has become justly famous.
When do wine and surf come together? When one takes the first sip of the 2005 Surfrider Red! Since many people associate Malibu with beautiful beaches and surfing, Rosenthal Estate Wines designed a label and designated a special wine that incorporate Malibu’s unique coastal lifestyle with fine wines. In doing so, Rosenthal Estate Wines has partnered with the Surfrider Foundation, a grassroots, non-profit environmental organization dedicated to protecting the oceans, waves, and beaches along our shores. Rosenthal Estate Wines donates a percentage of the profits from Surfrider to this worthwhile organization.
Rosenthal The Malibu Estate is truly a boutique winery that crafts limited quantities of award winning wines, which makes each bottle of wine from this estate a rare and precious commodity. The 2005 Surfrider is just the second vintage of this outstanding meritage. To its credit Surfrider has with just two releases under its belt garnered dozens of medals in nearly every significant wine competition.
So, What is a Meritage?
Meritage (rhymes with “heritage”) is California’s answer to Bordeaux. It is also a term that has come in vogue in the last decade to describe New World blends that are made from traditional red Bordeaux varietals. Therefore, a meritage wine is essentially a blend of three or more traditional red Bordeaux grapes with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc the most notable participants. Malbec and Petit Verdot are the other two possible players. However, there are no legal or proscribed percentages for each grape variety in a meritage wine, so producers are permitted to vary how much of each varietal finds its way into the final offering, much as Bordeaux Châteaux vary their cepages or blends depending upon the estate’s desired style of wine and the vagaries of each individual vintage. Nearly all meritage wines must eschew the name of a single varietal on the label because varietal bottling requires that at least 75% of a single variety (in California and in most other states) be present in a blend to be labeled as such. The minimum requirement for varietal labeling in Europe and in most other New World producing wine countries is 80% of grape variety.