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2002 Merlot, Napa Valley

  This wine is based on Napa Valley's Oak Knoll District fruit. This new sub appellation between the town of Napa and Yountville is cool enough to produce Merlot with great color and extractive weight, yet warm enough to have aromatically forward fruit and the suppleness that a great merlot must have.

Gently hand harvested, the grapes were de-stemmed (not crushed) into open-top fermenters or our revolutionary automated tanks for fermentation. After primary fermentation, the wine was allowed to undergo extended maceration for more than an additional week. This increased the extractive weight of the wine and added a little more suppleness to the mid-palate. The secondary malolactic fermentation occurred in barrel and this wine matured in French oak during 26 months of aging.

Tasting Notes
Velvety and smooth the way a Merlot ought to be. This wine has exquisite chocolate, toffee, caramel, and vanilla bean to compliment the dense blackberry fruit. Integrated and supple, this wine is a tactile delight.

6,400 cases produced
Alcohol content, 14.3% by volume

Wine Enthusiast

"Has the prettiest bouquet of red cherries and smoke, with hints of bacon, thyme, mint and white chocolate. Equally complex on the palate, with the most generous texture. Pure velvet." Editor's Choice.

Houston Chronicle

"What merlot should be a generous dollop of fruit, but fruit with body, not some wimped-out, washed-out red wine..." 4 stars.

California Grapevine

"Highly recommended...attractive, forward, toasty, spicy, green olive and sweet cherry fruit aroma; medium-full body; rich, moderately concentrated herbal, cherry and berry fruit flavors; medium-full tannin; slightly dry and tarrish on the finish; lingering aftertaste."

Press Democrat, Santa Rosa, California

"Wine of the Week. Rich and ripe without being over-ripe. A vibrant texture, with aromas and flavors of red currant, cherry cola, dusty cedar and sweet wood. Polished." 4 stars.

Wine Spectator

"Focused on tasty red cherry, black berry and plum, turning spicy and cedary, with firm tannins." James Laube's Smart Buys in California Merlot.

Restaurant Wine

"A complex, concentrated Merlot, with layers of new oak character. It is full bodied, moderately rich, and quite woody, which shows through on the finish."

Quarterly Review of Wines

"California Best of the Best. Good deep color; brooding black-fruit and toasted-oak nose; lush, concentrated, blackberry, coffee and nutty-oak-vanillin flavors; soft, elegant finish." Excellent.

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