ESTATE MERLOT 2016
15 months, French Oak (100% new)
In the heart of Napa Valley, our Yountville Estate has an amazing lineage spanning over 140 years. Located on hillside benchland, the well-drained soils are relatively thin due to their position atop ancient alluvial fans. The Merlot budwood selections were originally taken from the famed Three Palms Vineyard, where Merlot first began in Napa Valley. Our favorite Merlot block sits on a knoll and produces intensely flavored berries of minuscule size. The volcanic ash soils at the ranch are planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and exhibit a chalky texture in the resulting wines. Our Cabernet Franc is a bit of our original “suitcase” clone as well as a La Jota Vineyard selection, which was the first California Cabernet Franc ever bottled. This blend comes together in much the same harmony in which it grows in the field.
With heavy December rainfall, we had hoped for a normal, wet month of February. Instead we saw the earliest bud break on record and an equally long spring of frost protection worries. However a warm, dry winter brought us our 4th year of drought, freak hail storms and a long, extended bloom in our red varieties. We called the vintage “hot tub time machine” as it behaved much like our 2007 vintage. It began fast and early, but experience has taught us to have patience to wait for flavor development in order to create wines of which to be proud…again!