92 - Wine Advocate
Raspberry, red currant and cherry provide classic Merlot fruit to play against the distinctive minerals, rose petals, vanilla and baking spice aromas throughout this wine. Very structured with muscle to age, the velvety texture has powerful weight to support bright cherry fruit flavors. Rich vanilla oak wraps up the finish on the palate. A roasted mushroom risotto or pasta with shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano would balance nicely.
14.5 months, French & American Oak (32% new)
A true Napa Valley blend of vineyards! Our Estate vineyards provide the backbone for the blend, totaling almost 60% of this bottling. Merlot from the Oak Knoll District gives sour cherry character, while the Yountville components provide the classic Bing cherry aromas and flavors for which our Merlot is known. The jammy notes come from blending in warmer up-valley fruit. Much care is taken to maximize the filtered light and allow the Merlot to hang freely within the canopy during harvest. This allows the fruit to mature and color evenly, leaving any vegetal hints behind. The wines are sent to barrels as individual lots to mature, allowing for greater understanding of the direct impact of our viticultural and fermentation practices each vintage. It also allows us to invite our growers to come and taste the fruits of their labor when they come to visit.
The 2016 vintage rewarded Napa Valley with normal rainfall after four consecutive vintages of drought. The grapevines sped right through their annual milestones with an early budbreak. Bloom started early, but May rains extended bloom in most varieties. Scorching heat at the end of June pushed veraison ahead of the 4th of July weekend. Harvest started early for many, however normal yields had us waiting to crush until the end of August. While not a completely leisurely harvest, we thanked Mother Nature for perfectly ripened fruit, happy fermentations and allowing us to be finished picking before ten inches of rain arrived in October.