Provenance 2005 Las Amigas Vineyard Merlot captures the myriad of flavors yielded by this distinctive vineyard in the southern, coolest tip of Napa Valley.
Appellation: Los Carneros
Barrel Aging: 22 Months, 100% French and Hungarian Oak (72% New)
Varietal Composition: 100% Merlot
Production: 1,424 cases
Provenance 2005 Las Amigas Vineyard Merlot captures the myriad of flavors yielded by this distinctive vineyard in the southern, coolest tip of Napa Valley. Opulent aromas of black cherry, pomegranate and currant mingle with hints of tangerine zest, exotic spices, green tea and toffee. The flavors first echo the aromas, and then turn to fig, maple and dark chocolate. Hints of vanilla and cherry chocolate linger on the graceful finish. This Merlot’s rich velvety flavors taste delicious with braised lamb with caramelized onions, roast turkey or duck with a cherry sauce, grilled portabella mushrooms, or steak rubbed with spices.
Las Amigas Vineyard is located in the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA) in the southern reaches of Napa Valley, closest to the San Francisco Bay. Here, the unique, well-drained soils and cool marine climate ripen Merlot grapes slowly, allowing for full flavor maturity and supple tannins. The vines are trained with vertical shoot and cluster-positioning for maximizing sun exposure in the rolling, windswept Carneros hills.
The 2005 vintage set a record hang time for exceptionally ripe Merlot flavors, with balanced acidity. Heavy winter rains during vine dormancy gave way to a dry, mild March. Significant rains returned in April and May, delaying bloom and berry set. Summer temperatures were desirably mild, with few heat spikes. We harvested Merlot in the foggy mornings of late September and early October, when the grapes had reached their ideal sugar-to-acid balance and deliciously ripe flavors.
We hand-harvested the Merlot clusters into half-ton bins to minimize crushing and then quickly transported the fruit to our winery. We then destemmed the clusters, maintaining approximately 60% whole berries to maximize fruitiness during fermentation. For gentle extraction of varietal character, winemaker Tom Rinaldi cold soaked the partially crushed berries for two days before the two-week fermentation. Aging in predominantly new French and Hungarian oak barrels wove vanilla and toasty oak nuances through the lush, silky flavors.