Our Merlot displays deep scarlet color, lush red-fruit and spice expression and soft, silky texture. This beautifully balanced wine was created from grapes grown in Napa Valley’s Los Carneros and Oak Knoll regions. “A plush, elegant vintage,” says Winemaker Tom Rinaldi of the 2007 release. Enjoy this versatile wine with grilled or roasted beef, lamb, turkey or pork. It’s also fabulous with mushrooms—in risotto, polenta or pasta sauce, or grilled on the barbecue.
Appellation: Los Carneros, Oak Knoll
Aging: 16 months, French Oak, American Oak and Hungarian Oak (33% New Barrels)
Varietal Composition: 100% Merlot
Soft and silky, our 2007 Napa Valley Merlot shows deep, scarlet color and exceptionally full, lush red-fruit character—signatures of both the stellar vintage and the notable vineyards in the Los Carneros and Oak Knoll regions. Layers of cherry, boysenberry, cassis and clove are caressed with vanilla nuances from barrel aging. The ripe, supple tannins structure the wine and support the lush flavors. The long, fruity finish, laced with autumn spices, ends with a lively cranberry zing.
Winemakers Chris Cooney and Tom Rinaldi chose Merlot almost equally from two sub-appellations in the lower half of Napa Valley: Los Carneros and Oak Knoll. The Oak Knoll fruit gives the wine rich, ripe flavors and softer texture, while the cooler Los Carneros region—closer to the San Francisco Bay—provides lively acidity and bright, red-fruit Merlot character. They selected grapes from six blocks of the Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard and two from an Oak Knoll vineyard. These well-drained, high-quality vineyard blocks are trained and pruned to maximize flavor intensity from sun exposure and prolonged hangtime. Variations in soils and mesoclimate contribute to our Merlot’s complex array of fruit and spice expression.
Napa Valley’s spectacular 2007 harvest got off to an early start in mid-August with the earliest ripening varietals, and then ripening slowed to an end in early November. The valley’s famous night fog kept grape acids bright while the sunny days developed rich, ripe flavors. The moderate summer and fall temperatures kept the vines from becoming water stressed in this lower-rainfall year, while providing long hangtime for fully mature, concentrated flavors.
We quickly brought the hand-harvested grapes to our winery in half-ton bins to minimize crushing. We then destemmed the clusters, maintaining more than half as whole berries to maximize fruitiness. For gentle extraction of varietal character and color, we cold soaked the must for two days before the two-week fermentation. Aging in oak barrels from forests in France, Hungary and America added complex vanilla and spice nuances. We clarified the wine with traditional rackings and then bottled it without fining.