2015 Count Stephen Merlot

2015 Count Stephen Merlot
2015 Count Stephen Merlot

From vines more than 20-years old, this medium-bodied Merlot features a full nose of dark red fruit and fresh earth. Plum, blackberry, and smoke dominate the palate with a persistent finish. Best with grilled pork tenderloin, venison, or cheeseburgers!

Count Stephen (1070-1127), Count of Aumale (later Albemarle), was the son of Odo, Count of Champagne(after whom our signature Odo red blends are named), and Adeliza of Normandy (after whom our semi-sweet white wine is named), sister of William the Conqueror. Stephen was the first cousin of William Rufus, King of England, and Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy. He would marry Hawise, daughter of Ralph de Mortimer, Lord of Wigmore and Seigneur de St. Victor-en-Caux, and his wife, Melisende. Stephen and Hawise would have four children. Stephen was the first direct ancestor of the Grace family to carry the Norman version of the family name, which carries forth there to this day.

Stephen succeeded his mother as Count of Aumale before 1089. In the conspiracy of 1095 against William Rufus, the object of the rebels was to place Stephen on the English throne! The rebellion failed, but Stephen was not put on trial as he may have been out of the king’s reach back in Normandy. Odo of Champagne, Stephen’s father, lost his English lands, however, for his suspected complicity.

In 1096, Stephen took up the cross and joined the First Crusade with Robert Curthose, Duke of Normandy. On his journey to the Holy Land as Joint Commander of the Third Division of Norman Crusaders, the outfit passed through eastern France, Switzerland, all the way through Italy, and across the Mediterranean to Antioch (in present-day Turkey), where they fought. 

Returning home after falling short of their ultimate goal, Stephen was given back his father’s English lands after the death of King William Rufus. He thus became Lord of Holderness, Yorkshire, England. He sided with King Henry I in 1104 against Robert Curthose’s attempted coup. However, in 1118 he supported William Clito’s rebellion against Henry I, unsuccessfully. He went on the Second Crusade, where he would fall in battle in the Holy Land.

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Alcohol12.85%
Volume750 ml
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