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"This shows some tightness and focus to the richness and ripeness of the wine with plums, chocolate and hazelnuts. Full body, firm tannins and a succulent finish. So delicious to drink now, but will age nicely.” - James Suckling
"Strengthened by small amounts of Petite Sirah and mixed reds, this is a tart, hightoned red, dusty in texture and well-integrated acidity. Plum, dark cherry and a whiff of dark chocolate accent the full-bodied power and soft approach.” - Virginie Boone, October 2020
With freshness emphasizing its southern Napa origins, the 2017 Merlot shows tons of juicy black cherry and dark plum fruit alongside sarsaparilla notes of vanilla, caramel and allspice, giving a rich warmth to the nose. Savory, sweet herbal elements, (almost Jägermeister-like), of cherry kirsch, bittersweet chocolate, black licorice, cola and chaparral floral blossom, thyme, mint and rosemary, also sit alongside sweet baking spice notes, imparted from the oak ageing. The palate is fleshy, rich and full, with mouthwatering fruit flavors, polished structure, refreshing acidity, and soft, fine-grained, velvety tannins, leading to a lengthy silky finish, exhibiting a well-balanced wine that shows the true elegance of Merlot.
The 2017 vintage in the Napa Valley was smaller yielding but high in quality. The region enjoyed much needed rain during the winter months ending the drought. A short period of warmer than usual temperatures during Labor Day weekend accelerated harvest for early ripening grapes varieties, resulting in an intense and, at times, unpredictable harvest. Though yields were lower than usual, the wines show exceptional flavor intensity and conditions were perfect for producing a wine with beautiful fruit as well as tremendous concentration of flavors, highly saturated color, and layers of complexity.
The grapes for this Napa Valley Merlot underwent a 2-3 week maceration period designed to extract ideal flavor, color and tannin from the skins. Using traditional winemaking techniques, Winemaker Christophe Paubert aged this Merlot in high quality French oak barrels (35% new) for 19 months. The new oak imparts structure, ageability, and a slight spice complexity that still allows the fresh fruit flavors to take center stage.
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 (35% new) for 19 months|
|Blend||96% Merlot, 4% Petite Sirah|