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 dark cherry, and blueberry with notes of cinnamon, vanilla and clove that persist through the long finish. The wine has depth and nuance with smooth tannins and a lush, lovely texture
With freshness emphasizing its southern Napa origins, the 2014 Merlot combines juicy dark cherry fruit, blueberry and light floral violet notes with subtle hints of cinnamon, vanilla, clove and cocoa, imparted from the oak ageing. The generous fruit flavors, polished structure, mouthwatering acidity, silky tannins and lush texture show just how complex and refined Merlot can be.
Our Napa Valley Merlot is crafted with grapes from vineyards in the southern part of Napa Valley (south of Gamble). Fruit from Oak Knoll makes up the majority of the Merlot blend, with the remaining fruit sourced from the Stags’ Leap estate and Oakville. Merlot can lose its varietal identity when exposed to too much heat, but the fruit from these select southerly vineyards exhibit fresh fruit character, structure and bright acidity.
Despite drought conditions, the 2014 vintage proved to be ideal, with excellent quality reminiscent of 2012 and 2013. The winter was one of the driest on record in California, but substantial rains in early spring were timely and set up the vines for a strong start. Summer temperatures were milder than expected with no extremes, and after early budbreak and verasion, harvest was unusually early in 2014. Despite this, the overall dry season was ideal for producing an expressive and structured Merlot.
The grapes for this Napa Valley Merlot underwent a two- to three-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: 86% Merlot, 6% Petite Sirah, 5% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot, 2% Mixed Red Varietals