Our winemakers tasted every single barrel of our Merlot to select ones that capture the distinctive array of flavors and plush mouthfeel that Merlot develops in the relatively cooler regions of Napa Valley. The wine is composed of two vineyards—one located in the Los Carneros and one in the Oak Knoll American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). The Los Carneros AVA is in the southernmost reaches of Napa Valley, closest to the San Francisco Bay, while the Oak Knoll AVA is just a little further up-valley. Both regions have cooling influences from the bay and well-drained soils, which slow the ripening of Merlot for full flavor maturity and supple tannins.
"Spicy in clove and allspice on the nose, this wine invites in bold, brambly currant and berry, retaining a softness on the palate despite its full-bodied ripeness and richness. That silky, fleshy character gives it a finesse that lingers and remains indelibly."
The amazing 2013 growing season surpassed even the highly touted 2012 vintage in grape quality. A winter with very low rainfall was followed by a dry, warm spring and summer. These factors resulted in balanced vine canopies, good fruit set and desirably small Bordeaux heritage grapes. The perfect weather throughout harvest gave us the luxury of waiting until the grapes reached absolute maturity, resulting in ripe, concentrated flavors.
We hand harvested the Merlot clusters into half-ton bins to minimize crushing and then quickly brought them to our winery. We then destemmed the grapes maintaining approximately 60 percent whole berries to maximize fruitiness during fermentation. For gentle extraction of varietal character, we cold soaked the must for two days before the two-week fermentation. Aging in 50 percent new French and Hungarian oak barrels wove vanilla and toasty oak nuances through the lush, silky flavors.