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: 21 Months, 100% French Oak (60% New)
Varietal Composition: 100% Merlot
The gorgeous, deep color of the 2010 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. 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.
Heralded as a near-flawless vintage in Napa Valley, 2010 had the latest onset to harvest in several decades. We crushed the first grapes after Labor Day, about two weeks later than average. The late onset resulted from above-average rainfall and cool temperatures that persisted into May, followed by a mostly cool, foggy summer that slowed fruit maturity. But, just as we started worrying that the grapes would never ripen, Mother Nature surprised us with heat spells to boost their flavors and sugar levels. The long hangtime and full ripeness yielded exceptionally rich wines with exquisite balance.
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.