Club Price $32.00
This lovely Napa Valley Merlot demonstrates concentrated aromas of cherry, boysenberry and cassis, layered with hints of mocha and vanilla. Similar flavors delight the palate, enhanced by firm structure and concentration. The tannins are silky and gracious, granting the wine a delightful texture.
744 cases producedDownload Tech Sheet
Varietal Composition: 82% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Malbec
Technical Data: ALC: 14.7% by vol.; TA: 6.5 G/L; pH: 3.42
Cooperage: 100% French Oak Barrels (50% New)
The grapes for this wine were hand harvested at night and brought to the winery in the early morning, in small bins. The fruit was hand-sorted, all the way down to individual berries that were promptly placed into temperature controlled fermentation tanks where they completed approximately 20 days of fermentation. The wine completed secondary fermentation and was aged for 22 months in French oak barrels (50% new). During the final blending process it was decided that a small portion of Cabernet Sauvignon would be added to lengthen the back palate and grant the tannins an elegant and velvety texture.
This Merlot is made from two Napa Valley vineyards: The Foss Valley Ranch Vineyard in the Atlas Peak AVA and the DeLouise Vineyard in the Oak Knoll AVA. The Atlas Peak AVA is cool and mountain influenced, with temperatures about 1015 cooler than the valley floor in summer; however because the vineyard sits above the fog line, this condition gives us an extra two weeks of hang time. These characteristics, along with the volcanic soils, allow the grapes to develop unique phenolic components, with tones of black fruit, and great acidity. Oak Knoll is located in the southern portion of Napa Valley where relatively cooler temperatures mean grapes hang longer on the vines before reaching maturity. This additional hang time is good for flavor development, but the vineyards require attentive viticulture to ensure the fruit gets just the right amount of sunlight and water. Practices such as morning side leaf removal, which allows the morning sun to penetrate the vine but protects clusters from the harsh afternoon sun, and irrigation control, which helps maintain a healthy canopy of leaves, are crucial to getting our Merlot grapes to optimal ripeness.
In the beginning of our growing season, the drought was a main concern. The 2013/2014 winter was one of the driest on record in California and rainfall totals in the Napa Valley were approximately half of normal. However, the timing of the late rains through February and April let our vineyard team relax a little as the vines received a much needed drink of water as they were emerging from dormancy and about to begin bud break. This rainfall recharged our soil and provided enough water to fill the reservoirs. Furthermore, the spring was warm allowing us to save water if needed for irrigation rather than using it for frost protection. As summer began, our vineyards already had full canopies and full clusters. Veraison, when the skins of the grapes change color, typically occurs in late July; but this year we saw the changing color occur much sooner. And finally, while the vines used for high-quality wine production generally dont need much water, a benefit of the drought is that berry sizes are typically smaller and have more concentrated flavors, which our winemaker believes contributes to the overall quality of this years harvest.