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Vintage 2015
Wine Type Red
Varietal Merlot
Region Napa Valley
Winemaker Trevor Durling


Tasting Notes

Our 2015 Barrel Select Merlot was chosen from our finest barrels of the vintage---ones that showed extraordinary sense of place, as well as exceptional texture and balance.This Merlot’s aromas reveal dark, rustic black cherry, black currant and blackberry fruit notes with hints of dark chocolate, wild sage and violet. The focused entry expands on the palate into sumptuous, darker fruit flavors of blackberry and black plum alongside warmer nuances of vanilla, allspice, kola nut and black pepper, all influences from aging in French oak barrels. Supple tannins and vibrant acidity beautifully frame the flavors and carry them through on the long more bitter espresso-like finish. Only 304 cases were produced and they are available exclusively at the winery.

Winemakers Note

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 oak barrels wove vanilla and toasty oak nuances through the lush, silky flavors.

Vineyard Notes

Our winemakers tasted every single barrel to select ones that capture the distinctive array of flavors and plush mouthfeel that Merlot develops in the cooler, southern regions of Napa Valley. They selected the majority of the fruit from Shifflet Vineyard on the sloping benchlands of the Oak Knoll AVA. This region has a cooling influence from the San Francisco Bay and well-drained soils, which slow the ripening of Merlot for full flavor maturity and supple tannins. To enhance the wine’s structure, a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon from Missimer Vineyard in the Stags Leap District contributed additional structure and tannin.

Vintage Notes

Although in 2015 we received three-quarters of our normal rainfall, the cumulative effect of four years of drought in Napa Valley resulted in a light crop. Fortunately, the vintage made up for the small quantity by yielding outstanding grape quality.  The small clusters and dry, warm conditions promoted an early, condensed harvest that kept us hopping. At Provenance, we began the harvest picking Sauvignon Blanc on August 8 and wrapped up the vintage with Cabernet Sauvignon by October 12. The wines of 2015 are known for their highly concentrated, complex flavors.