"Aged in 50% new oak for 18 months, the deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Merlot Block 20 Estate has a very spicy nose with notions of cinnamon stick, cloves and black pepper over a core of warm black plums and blackberry preserves plus wafts of vanilla and cigar box. Medium to full-bodied, the palate reveals generous plums and blackberry layers with a plush texture and spicy kick to the finish." - Lisa Perrotti-Brown, October 29, 2018
This vibrant Merlot is full of fresh Bing cherry, raspberry and ripe plum notes on the nose, while savory earthy aromas inspired by the estate terroir come through in the secondary aromas offering dried chaparral herb spices, camphor and cocoa nib â€“ also influences from the well-integrated French oak barrels. A true example of how Merlot can shine in Napa Valley, there is brightness, focus and balance while backed up by the smooth, rich, velvety texture, layered with red fruits interwoven with power, depth, and complexity. This sophisticated and elegant Merlot is the Audrey Hepburn of wine â€“ a classic, finishing gracefully and long with fine grained tannins and everlasting flavors showing the beauty of our estate fruit.
The extended drought was beginning to cause real concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January we enjoyed significant rainfall in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. While still early by historical standards, picking began about a week later than 2015, and continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter showing of 2015, and the extended season helped to balance the acidity in each varietal and added additional complexity to the layers of flavors. This resulted in wines with outstanding concentration and flavor.
This 2016 vintage marks the eighth release of our Block 20 Estate Grown Merlot, which is sourced solely from its namesake, block number 20, located within our estate vineyard. This singular stretch of land sits in the middle of the property where heat exposure is moderate and soil conditions are rich. The resulting crop is very low and perfectly balanced, making this unique production a small lot of wine that offers remarkable depth and concentration.
In order to demonstrate the authentic fruit expression of this unique Merlot block, Winemaker Christophe Paubert utilizes traditional winemaking techniques with a minimal intervention approach. The grapes from this singular lot are handpicked and undergo a three week maceration period, designed to extract flavor, color and tannin from the skins. This Merlot is aged in 100% French oak barrels, with a mix of 67% new and neutral oak, for 19 months.
For Christophe Paubert, Winemaker and General Manager at Stags’ Leap Winery, the identity of a wine is found through the terroir. Christophe’s career has spanned the industry from sales to winemaking, and his impressive background includes positions at Chateau d’Yquem and Gruaud-Larose as well as projects in Chile, Spain and Washington State. But it was the terroir of Stags’ Leap that drew him to California.
|Oak Treatment||100% French oak (67% new) for 19 months|
|Blend||93% Merlot, 7% Petite Verdot|
|Case Production||495 cases|