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Classic Tier Reserve Tier Limited Release Wines

Napa Valley Reserve Merlot


  This Merlot comes from the cooler southern portion of Napa Valley. The cooler temperatures allow for more "hang time" which produces more intense flavors and better tannic structure. The vineyards required some careful morning side leaf removal and irrigation management to insure enough “hang time” to get even and complete berry ripening. Too few leaves on the vine do not generate enough energy for world class flavors and the berries may become sun burned; too many leaves and the berries end up shaded and not as fruity. The temperate application of irrigation water maintained a healthy canopy of leaves that survived the couple heat spells we had. Extensive field testing and tasting determined the optimal day to pick.

Winemaking
Following hand-harvesting, the grapes were de-stemmed only (whole berries). Fermentations were conducted in a combination of open-top vessels with a punchdown device and closed tanks with gentle cap irrigators. Several types of yeast were used for both inoculated and uninoculated fermenting. Most lots were pressed directly to barrel, and malolactic fermentations finished in barrel. After one year, the wines were racked and returned to barrel for an additional year of aging.

Tasting Notes
Brimming with bright cherry and raspberry. Layers of cinnamon, clove, cigar box, vanilla and chocolate serve as delicious counterpoints to the pervasive berry fruit. A serious wine with excellent color and firm yet silky tannins. In the mouth a wonderfully smooth wine that has a warm comforting silky feeling from start to lingering finish. A splendid acid and soft tannin balance insure this wine will both go well with food and evolve into a greater wine over the next decade - this is a great Merlot.

Alcohol content, 14.6% by volume.
1,865 cases produced.