“A plush, elegant vintage,” says Winemaker Tom Rinaldi of the 2007. The grapes come from a stony vineyard just south of Calistoga in northern Napa Valley. In the 1800s, the Three Palms site was the summer home of Lillie Hitchcock Coit, who gave the famous landmark Coit Tower to San Francisco. Filet of beef with Merlot sauce, veal loin stuffed with wild mushrooms, leg of lamb and grilled pork are a few pairing suggestions. Drink now through 2020.
Barrel Aging: 18 Months, 100% French Oak (61% New)
Varietal Composition: 81% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot
The gorgeous, deep color of the 2007 Provenance Vineyards Three Palms Merlot entices you to experience this vintage’s generous, dark-fruit aromas and flavors. Layer upon layer of black cherry, blackberry, forest loam, dark cherry chocolate truffle, cedar and mineral notes fill the aromas and expansive flavors. The flavors are dense and textured, with an impression of sweetness from the new oak barrels. The fine-grained tannins are surprisingly approachable in the wine’s youth, yet they perfectly structure the flavors through the lingering, fruit-imbued finish.
Our Merlot reveals the unique qualities of Three Palms Vineyard, a valley-floor site that yields intense wines more typical of hillsides. “I call it a vertically challenged hillside vineyard,” quips Winemaker Tom Rinaldi. The soil is full of volcanic cobblestones that have been washed down from Dutch Henry Canyon in northern Napa Valley. They radiate heat and also force the vines to struggle for water and nutrients, resulting in small-berried Merlot clusters with exceptional color and flavor concentration. Primarily planted to Merlot, this 74.5-acre vineyard also has a substantial number of acres of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, giving us the opportunity to blend other varietals for complexity while retaining a single-vineyard designation.
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.
At dawn, we hand harvested the Merlot clusters into half-ton bins to minimize crushing and then hand sorted the fruit twice at the winery. We destemmed the clusters, maintaining 60 percent whole berries to maximize fruitiness, and then cold soaked the must to gently extract flavors and color. Following fermentation and extended maceration, we aged the wine in French oak barrels.