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Beringer’s Bancroft Ranch vineyard is located at an elevation of 1,800 feet on Howell Mountain, a growing area with well-drained volcanic soils. In 1984, Howell Mountain became the first area within the Napa Valley appellation to be declared a separate viticultural area (AVA) for the distinct characteristics of its wine grapes and now it is home to several of Napa Valley’s most famous wines. Bancroft Ranch produces clusters with small berries whose high skin-to-fruit ratio results in well-structured wines with concentrated flavors.
"There are just over 1,000 cases of the 2014 Merlot Bancroft Ranch, one of the iconic vineyards of Beringer, high in white volcanic ash on Howell Mountain. This is classic Merlot. With its thick, juicy, succulent texture and loads of berry fruit interwoven with mocha and black chocolate, it is a fat, juicy, hedonistic pleasure bomb. Drink it over the next decade.” - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
This Merlot opens with aromas of ripe red-berry
fruit, mocha, espresso and toasted spice. A core of rich red and blue fruit is the
foundation of this complex, well-structured wine. The wine’s developed tannins
and solid structure along with depth of flavor concentration make this a favorite.
2014 was a dream vintage for the Napa Valley along the lines of the recent outstanding vintages of 2012 and 2013. Although California’s drought brought another dry winter, the growing season started with a warm, dry spring and relatively early bud break.
The lots remained separate through fermentation and
aging to retain the individual terroir characteristics of each vineyard section.
After gentle crushing and destemming, the juice and skins were sent to small
fermentors where color, flavors and tannins were slowly extracted from the skins
as vinification progressed. Aged in custom-toasted French Nevers oak barrels
(53% new) for 21 months permits the big, Cabernet-like tannins of the Howell
Mountain Merlot time to soften, and the barrel aromas to be well-integrated with
the ripe fruit characteristics of the wine. Small percentages of Cabernet Franc
and Cabernet Sauvignon were added upon blending, to elongate the finish and
add additional complexities to the blend.