Established in 1893, Stags’ Leap Winery is one of the oldest wine estates within the acclaimed Stags Leap district, producing wines expressive of its unique terroir. With an enduring winemaking philosophy of minimal intervention, and by using the finest grapes from our own 80-acre vineyard and from quality-focused growers, Stags’ Leap wines embody a natural balance, exhibiting both intensity and finesse.
A Merlot for Cabernet lovers, the 2010 Napa County Merlot is a surprise, giving everything the varietal should, plus much more. This full bodied wine starts with enticing aromas of deep, lush fruit – blackberry, cherry, strawberry and cassis – with hints of earth and caramel. Juicy flavors of black fruit show generously on the palate and the complimenting blend of intense flavors and silky tannins show just how complex Merlot can be.
Our Napa County Merlot is crafted with grapes sourced primarily from vineyards in the southern part of Napa Valley below Oak Knoll. Because Merlot can lose its varietal identity when exposed to too much heat, the fruit from these cooler conditions exhibit fresh fruit character, structured body and fresh acidity.
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 resulting lower yields of wine were concentrated, elegant and structured.
Handpicked at the peak of flavor development, the grapes for this wine underwent a 2-3 week maceration period designed to pull flavor, color and tannin from the skins. Using traditional winemaking techniques, Winemaker Christophe Paubert aged this Merlot in high quality French oak barrels (35% new) for 16 months. This deliberate lesser percentage of new oak imparts structure, ageability and a slightly spicy character to the wine that still allows the fresh fruit flavors to take center stage.
Varietal Composition: 93% Merlot, 3% Malbec, 3% Petite Sirah, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon