"The 2010 Merlot Block 20 Estate (100% Merlot) is a more significant wine with a deep ruby/purple color, a big, sweet nose of white chocolate interwoven with mocha, black cherry jam and loamy soil notes, medium to full body, and a plump style. Aged in 100% French oak (50% new), it should drink well young and keep for 12-15+ years. I have always thought of this winery as a Petite Sirah specialist, but they are now also producing cuvees of Cabernet Sauvignon, a proprietary red and a couple of Merlots. Stags Leap Winery first made its reputation with its Petite Sirahs, and they now offer two cuvees of California’s most underrated varietal." - Robert Parker, October 2013
This 2010 vintage marks the second release of our Block 20 Estate Merlot, which is sourced solely from its namesake, block number 20, in our Stags’ Leap Winery estate vineyard. This singular stretch of land sits in the middle of the property where heat exposure is moderate and soil conditions are rich. The resulting crop is very low and perfectly balanced, making this unique production a small lot of wine that offers remarkable depth and concentration.
The 2010 growing season was long and mild with ideal temperatures for perfect ripening and full development of great aromatics and rich and soft tannins. Rainfall returned to Napa Valley after three dry years, lengthening each stage of growth -- bud break, flowering and fruit-set -- by nearly two weeks. The relatively cool growing season coupled with the unexpected heat spikes in late summer made for a shortened harvest, but the temperate spikes were ideal for Merlot fruit.
In order to demonstrate the authentic fruit expression of this unique Merlot block, Winemaker Christophe Paubert utilizes traditional winemaking techniques with a minimal intervention approach. The grapes from this singular lot are handpicked and undergo a three week maceration period, designed to extract flavor, color and tannin from the skins. This Merlot is aged in 100% French oak barrels, with a mix of 50% new and neutral, for 18 months.
Varietal Composition: 100% Merlot