2016 Vintner Select Merlot

Ripe cherries, boysenberries, and cranberries articulate this fruit-driven, voluptuous wine, though there is plenty of complexity to be found in its subtle nuances of sandalwood, cardamom, and cocoa. The wine is beautifully round and luscious with a pure mouth-coating texture and powerful finish.

The goal of our Vintner Select Merlot is to present a quintessential example of how great merlot can be as a 100% varietal. Though it is brighter and more fruit-forward than its cabernet counterpart, this wine has plenty of stuffing and not shy in its tannins. Planted in one of our best sites, a sunny south-facing hillside, each year these Clone 3 merlot vines grow to the top of our canopy trellis and then stop, with no need for tipping of the shoots, a sign that the vines are perfectly balanced to the soil. This is one of our favorite wines to use in blending, also forming the core of our Reserve Claret, but in our Vintner Select, it is a treat to feature it in its pure glory.

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Appellation: 59% Napa/ 41% Sonoma
Vintage: 2016
Harvest: September 2016
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 100% Merlot
Alcohol: 14.4%
Bottling: July 2018
Production: 558 cases
Release Date: January 2019
Release Price: $88.00


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  • Jeb Dunnuck: - Rating: 93

    The 2016 Merlot is a step up over the 2015 and has a rock star bouquet of blackcurrants, smoked herbs, chocolate, and hints of graphite. Fleshy, medium to full-bodied, with notable purity and elegance, it shines for its perfect balance. This is a beautiful Merlot that can be drunk today or cellared for over a decade.

  • California Grapevine: Volume 45 - Rating: 91

    Medium ruby; forward, deep, rich, dark cherry and boysenberry fruit aroma with herbal notes and hints of dark chocolate and sandalwood; full body; cherry and dark berry fruit flavors with good depth, a note of cocoa, and a full, rich mouthfeel; full tannin; lingering aftertaste. Nicely balanced and somewhat elegant in style for drinking now, or allow it to develop with several more years of bottle aging. Very highly recommended. 14.4% alcohol; 558 cases; 100% Merlot; released January 2019. (Group Score: 16.5, 0/4/0; My Score: 17 [91/100], second place)