This special bottling comes from two exceptional Napa Valley vineyards: the Las Amigas Vineyard in the Los Carneros AVA and a vineyard located on the sloping benchlands of the Oak Knoll AVA. The influence of cool breezes from the San Francisco Bay fosters rich, yet bright, Merlot flavors. Cold soaking the destemmed grapes accentuated the wine’s fruitiness, while barrel aging married oak spices with Merlot’s dark berry flavors.
Appellation: Oak Knoll, Los Carneros
Barrel Aging: 22 Months, French Oak and Hungarian Oak (50% New)
Varietal Composition: 100% Merlot
Production: 416 cases
"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." - Virginie Boone, June 2017
Winemaker Trevor Durling succinctly summed up the character of the 2013 Barrel Select Merlot in one word—awesome. The blend is chosen from sixteen of the finest barrels of Merlot; ones that showed extraordinary “sense of place” flavors and plush texture. Both the ideal vintage and outstanding vineyard terroir contributed to the wine’s deep, black cherry, blackberry jam, dark chocolate and violet aromas. The focused entry expands into sumptuous, dark-fruit flavors with hints of vanilla and baking spice from aging in French oak barrels. Supple tannins and balanced acidity beautifully frame the flavors and carry them through the long finish.
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 southern-most 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.
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.