This special bottling comes from two exceptional Napa Valley vineyards: the Las Amigas Vineyard in the Los Carneros AVA and a vineyard located on the sloping benchlands of the Oak Knoll AVA. The influence of cool breezes from the San Francisco Bay fosters rich, yet bright, Merlot flavors. Cold soaking the destemmed grapes accentuated the wine's fruitiness, while barrel aging married oak spices with Merlot's dark berry flavors. The blend is made from a selection of fourteen barrels of Merlot that showed especially distinctive 'sense of place' flavors and plush texture.
“A massively structured merlot with intense elderberry aroma and some smoky oak. Then the stature of a cult cabernet on the widescreen palate, but everything fits in so neatly that it doesn’t feel a jot too much. The enormous and complex finish goes on and on. Drink or hold.” - James Suckling
Our 2016 Barrel Select Merlot was chosen from our finest barrels of the vintage - ones that showed an extraordinary sense of place, as well as exceptional texture and balance. This wine’s terroir expression comes from Napa Valley vineyards located in the Oak Knoll appellation.
This Merlot’s aromas reveal tons of rustic, brambly, red and blackberry fruit notes of raspberry, blackberry, and marionberry, alongside hints of forest floor, earth, chocolate cocoa powder and wild chaparral herbs like; sage, violet, rosemary, and lavender. The savory palate is full of sumptuous, dark fruit flavors of blackberry, boysenberry and black plum alongside nuances of dark chocolate and roasted espresso. Firm fleshy tannins and vibrant acidity beautifully frame the flavors and carry them through on the long more layered, velvety, fresh herbal finish that highlight bay leaf and eucalypt characters. Only 406 cases were produced, and they are available exclusively at the winery.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January, we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, right around Labor Day, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended mild season helped to balance the acids and add complexity to the layers of flavors. Considered a perfect harvest and a winemaker’s dream vintage, conditions were perfect for producing a Merlot with beautiful fruit as well as tremendous concentration of flavors, highly saturated color, and layers of complexity.
Our winemakers tasted every single barrel to select the best ones that capture the distinctive array of flavors and plush mouthfeel that Merlot develops in the cooler, southern regions of Napa Valley. They selected the majority of the fruit from Shifflet Vineyard on the sloping benchlands of the Oak Knoll AVA. This region has a cooling influence from the San Francisco Bay and well-drained soils, which slow the ripening of Merlot for full flavor maturity and supple tannins.
Trevor grew up in nearby Sonoma County, one of the wine hubs of Northern California. Wine was a staple at his family dinner table, and he enrolled in the Viticulture and Enology program at the University of California, Davis. After an internship at Sonoma-Cutrer in 2003 and two consecutive harvest internships making sparkling wine at Gloria Ferrer, Trevor joined Moon Mountain Vineyard, a small, well-regarded organic vineyard in Sonoma, shortly after his graduation from UC Davis. In March of 2010, Trevor joined the winemaking team at Hewitt Vineyard and Provenance Vineyards and was appointed senior winemaker in 2015.
"From a winemaking standpoint, we have access to some of the best fruit in Napa Valley, not just from our estate in Rutherford, but also from Carneros in the south all the way up to Calistoga in the north. Our job is to make sure that each wine is balanced, complex, exciting and representative of its terroir."