Vintage 2013
Wine Type Red
Varietal Merlot
Region Napa Valley
Winemaker Tom Rinaldi and Chris Cooney

Whole-berry fermentation and cold soaking enhanced the rich fruit expression, while barrel aging added toasty oak nuances. Merlot grapes sourced from the Los Carneros and Oak Knoll AVAs, in the cooler, southern half of Napa Valley. Spicy lamb meatballs, roasted duck with cherry sauce, chicken thighs grilled with red peppers and onions, and steak with mushrooms are a few delicious pairings. Aging in French, American and Hungarian oak barrels softened the tannins as it added toasty oak spice.

Appellation: Los Carneros, Oak Knoll
Aging: 21 months, 65% French Oak, 25% American Oak, 10% Hungarian Oak (30% New Barrels)
Varietal Composition: 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon
ABV: 15.1%

Tasting Notes

Silky  and  elegant,  the  2013  Napa  Valley  Merlot  gracefully  reveals  its  fruit-driven  character  of  ripe  cherry  and  blackberry  compote.  Hints  of  dark  chocolate  and  hazelnut meld with a savory edge of pipe tobacco and bay leaf. The well-knit acidity enlivens the mouth-filling flavors, while supple tannins frame the wine and give age worthiness. Complex baking spice nuances from three types of oak barrels—French, American and Hungarian—weave through this Merlot’s generous varietal expression.

Vineyard Notes

We choose 70 percent of the grapes from our Los Amigos Vineyard in the Los Carneros and 25 percent from the Oak Knoll American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) of Napa Valley. The Merlot grown in the cool Los Carneros AVA—closer to the San Francisco Bay—contributes bright flavors and acidity, while Merlot grapes from the Oak Knoll AVA gives the wine rich, ripe flavors and softer texture. We selected five percent Cabernet Sauvignon from Wooden Valley, which lies in the eastern side of the Napa Valley appellation. The different soil types and mesoclimates found in these appellations add to the wine’s myriad of complex flavors.

Vintage Notes

The 2013 vintage surpassed even the highly touted 2012 vintage in grape quality. A winter  with  very  low  rainfall  was  followed  by  a  dry,  warm  spring  and  summer.  These  factors  resulted  in  balanced  vine  canopies,  good  fruit  set  and  small,  concentrated   grapes.   Perfect   weather   throughout   harvest   fostered   intense,   beautifully balanced and expressive wines.

Winemaking Notes

The  hand-harvested  grapes  were quickly brough to  our  winery  and  the clusters were destemmed,  retaining  60  percent  as  whole  berries  to  maximize  fruitiness  in  the  wine.  For gentle extraction of varietal character and color, the must is cold soakedfor two days  before  the  two-week  primary  fermentation.  Malolactic  fermentation  was  conducted  in  barrels  during  aging  to  round  the  acidity.  A  selection  of  new  barrels  gave subtle oak spice complexity to this generously fruity Merlot.