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.
“Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Merlot Bancroft Ranch has a nose of preserved plums, mulberries and fruitcake with hints of Chinese five spice, menthol, espresso and black pepper with a waft of licorice. The palate is big, rich, soft and seductive, beautifully framing the voluptuous fruit with velvety tannins and ample freshness, finishing long and spicy.” - Lisa Perotti-Brown, Wine Advocate, October 2017
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.
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.