It was after a spell in the Bordeaux region that Chip
Lyeth decided to establish his eponymous winery in Sonoma County in
1981. His aim was to bring that which makes
the subtlety of Bordeaux wines to California: the blending of grapes.
His ambition was to create wines that would be known for their name
rather than their grapes, like the great wines of Bordeaux.
Under the supervision of Winemaker Bill Arbios, Lyeth
wines have always based their richness on intelligent blending: Cabernet
Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot. These
grapes are all complementary and the blend brings a flavour to the
wine that is full of subtlety and finesse.
In 1988, Bill Arbios and other winemakers in the region
created the Meritage standard
(a combination of merit and heritage), to qualify their best wines
blended from Bordeaux varietals. This rigorous standard is a reflection
of the great Bordelaise tradition.