2017 Vintner Select Merlot

The essence of mountain merlot, out 2017 Vintner Select Merlot possesses complex notes of kirsch, blackberry, rose petal, graphite and ripe plum. The texture is layered and unctuous, coating the mouth in waves of supple, intense fruit that continues to saturate the mouth long after each sip.

Over our 25 years of trying different merlot clones at different growing sites around the property, we find that clone 3 merlot grown on our warmest south-facing slopes is what makes our most thrilling, flavorful and concentrated merlot; our VS Merlot comes entirely from these clone 3 merlot blocks each vintage.  Once the VS Merlot has been blended, the rough formula for the Reserve Claret is 2/3 VS Merlot and 1/3 Reserve Cab.  We typically make around 500 cases of VS Merlot each vintage compared to 600+ cases of Reserve Claret and 5000+ cases of Pride Merlot.

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Appellation: 56% Napa/ 44% Sonoma
Vintage: 2017
Harvest: October 2017
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 100% Merlot
Alcohol: 14.7%
Bottling: July 2019
Production: 489 cases
Release Date: January 2020
Release Price: $88.00


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  • Jeb Dunnuck: Napa Valley’s 2017s - Rating: 91

    Moving to the 2017s, the smaller production 2017 Merlot Vintners Select has a similar deep ruby hue compared to the classic Merlot and offers nots of mulled black cherries, red plums, toasted spices, mocha, and some vanilla oak. As with the base cuvee, it’s medium-bodied, lightly textured, and certainly delicious. Drink it over the coming decade as well.

  • Antonio Galloni Vinous: January 2021 - Rating: 92

    The 2017 Merlot Vintner Select races out of the glass with super-ripe red cherry, kirsch, sweet pipe tobacco and cedar. The Vintner Select Merlot is a typical 2017, ripe and overt, but also lacking a bit in structure. I would prefer to drink it on the earlier side.

  • Robert Parker's The Wine Advocate: Issue 251 End of October 2020, The Wine Advocate - Rating: 91

    Composed of 100% Merlot, the 2017 Merlot Vintner's Select comes from 44% Sonoma County and 56% Napa County. Pale to medium garnet-purple colored, it sashays out of the glass with pretty notes of warm plums, kirsch and raspberry pie plus suggestions of chocolate box, star anise and wild sage with a waft of tobacco leaf. Medium to full-bodied, the palate is soft and juicy with lots of energetic red fruit sparks among the black berry flavors, finishing with an invigorating herbal lift.

  • Connoisseurs' Guide to California WIne: April 2021 - Rating: 90

    Introduced by a genuinely juicy, intensely fruity nose of ripe cherries bordered by sweet oak and a light touch of milk-chocolate, this is a congenial, indelibly varietal wine that gets the nod for its is upfront richness. It is fully ripe but in no way overdone, and ripeness never once threatens to take precedence over its ongoing fruit. Moderately full-bodied with temperate tannins for grip, it is, on the whole, a fairly rich and well-mannered Merlot that drinks well now with sundry steaks and chops but will continue to grow for another four or five years.