2020 Vintner Select Merlot

Wow, the intensely concentrated aromatics of deep, pure, dark cherry are elevated by intriguing notes of violets, sweet moist tobacco, sassafras bark and cedar.  This dense round merlot envelops the mouth with a pleasing silky and lingering texture that slowly transitions to pretty acid-driven energy on the long full-bodied finish.  This is the perfect accompaniment for nearly any savory dark-flavored dish including ragouts, roasted meats etc.  The 2020 vintage has produced one of our favorite Vintner Select Merlots ever and is a cab lovers merlot for sure. 

The Vintner Select Merlot, which is typically no more than 500 cases each vintage, is made exclusively (100%) from our blocks of merlot planted to clone 3.  Clone 3 merlot does something magical at elevation, producing wines loaded with dark cherry, licorice and spice flavors, while having a texture that, like the Vintner Select Cab, is both dense upfront and wonderfully silky on the finish. This is a decadent wine that shows just how flavorful merlot grown on a mountain top can be.  It is distinct from our Reserve Claret, which uses the Vintner Select Merlot as its only merlot component, in that it does not have any added cabernet sauvignon or other varietals. 


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Appellation: Sonoma County
Vintage: 2020
Harvest: October 2020
Fermentation: Stainless Steel
Cooperage: French Oak
Blend: 100% Merlot
Alcohol: 14.5%
Bottling: July 2022
Production: 480 cases
Release Date: January 2023
Release Price: $92.00


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  • Decanter: Single Tasting, 19 Jul 2023 - Rating: 91

    A 100% Merlot aged 18 months. Bright plums, cedar, chocolate and vanillin. Silky and sweet on the palate with a supple roundness that fills in the mid-palate with red berry compote and currant jelly. Ripe, fine-grained tannins lead to a pretty saline finish marked by spearmint and mocha notes.


    Tasted by: Jonathan Cristaldi

    (at Novato, California, 19 Jul 2023)

    Drinking Window: 2024 - 2030


  • Wine Enthusiast: October 1, 2023 - Rating: 93

    Soaked in dark plum, bay leaf and menthol notes, this broad-textured and softly tannic wine drenches the palate with saturated flavors. Its richness, ripeness and easy mouthfeel are difficult to resist. Best now–2030. — Jim Gordon

  • Jeb Dunnuck: Napa Valley’s 2021s and 2022s – Part 1 - Rating: 91

    Always terrific as well, the 2022 Viognier has textbook aromatics of ripe stone fruits, apricot, and honeyed flower notes, and it's medium-bodied, has a lively, rounded, rich mouthfeel, a good spine of acidity, and outstanding length. It has classic Viognier character and is worth seeking out. It should have 2-3 years of prime drinking.