Provenance 2006 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
Provenance 2006 Las Amigas Vineyard Merlot captures the myriad of flavors yielded by this distinctive vineyard in the southern, coolest tip of Napa Valley. Opulent aromas are echoed by the flavors first, and then turn to a 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.
“It was a long and rewarding harvest, perhaps—with all due respect for 2001—the best of the decade so far,” says Cooney. “Vine balance (leaf-to-fruit ratio) was more consistent in 2006, promoting slow, even fruit ripening and a relaxed harvest. Berry size was smaller than average, leading to highly structured wines. The 2006 vintage quality looks excellent; our red wines show great depth, flavor concentration and velvety tannins, even at this early stage in their development.”
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.