83% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Cabernet Franc
Wild cherries and bramble fruit harmonize with a warm vanilla spice in this fresh and fragrant wine. A bright acidity and robust structure creates the juicy freshness that invites another sip.
All of the Merlot grapes and the majority of the Cabernet Sauvignon for this wine came from the Schweitzer Vineyard in the Stags Leap District, Napa Valley. This vineyard and this A.V.A. are renowned for wines with a purity of fruit expression.
The grapes were hand harvested in the cool of the morning, gently crushed and inoculated for a warm fermentation setting the stage for maximum flavor extraction while keeping the tannins in check. 26 days of skin contact enhanced color and flavor extraction and polished the tannins for a lush, round mouthfeel. The new wine was transferred to French oak barrels (12% new) for malolactic fermentation and twenty one months of aging to develop greater roundness and depth. The wine was bottled in September, 2013.
The 2011 growing season challenged us with tenacious morning fog, unseasonably cool weather and yield-reducing rainfall at flowering and during harvest. It also had the beneficial effect of extending "hangtime," literally giving the clusters additional time for peak flavor development. September brought nearly perfect harvest conditions and most of this Merlot came in between September 30th and October 14th. The vintage produced very low yields, but showcases Merlot’s signature elegance, rich, concentrated fruit and bright acidity.