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.
This expressive Merlot showcases the varietal’s ability to excel in Napa Valley with its generous, juicy fruit flavors, intriguing baking spice notes and polished structure. It’s incredibly pleasurable and complex with cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, and plum with notes of caramel and cinnamon that persist through the long finish. The wine has depth and nuance with smooth tannins and a lush, lovely texture.
The Napa Valley Merlot is crafted with grapes sourced from vineyards in the southern part of Napa Valley. Fruit from Oak Knoll makes up the majority of the Napa Valley Merlot, with the remaining 30% of fruit sourced from vineyards in the neighboring appellation of Yountville. Because Merlot can lose its varietal identity when exposed to too much heat, the fruit from these southern Napa vineyards exhibit fresh fruit character, structured body and bright acidity.
The 2012 vintage will be remembered for its abundance of high-quality fruit. The season began with exceptional, moderate weather that brought virtually no harm to the grapes all the way through fruit-set, and the long, mild days continued well into the summer. A cooler-than-normal period hit at the end of September, which allowed for the preservation of ideal fruit aromatics, freshness and natural acidity.
The grapes for this Napa Valley Merlot underwent a 2-3 week maceration period designed to extract ideal 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 slight spice complexity to the wine that still allows the fresh fruit flavors to take center stage.
Varietal Composition: 89% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, 2% Petite Sirah