Vintage 2011
Wine Type Red
Varietal Merlot
Region Napa Valley
Winemaker Christophe Paubert

Established  in  1893,  Stags’  Leap  Winery  is  one  of  the  oldest  wine  estates  within  the  acclaimed Stags Leap district, producing wines expressive of its unique terroir. With an enduring  winemaking  philosophy  of  minimal  intervention,  and  by  using  the  finest  grapes  from  our  own  80-acre  vineyard  and  from  quality-focused  growers,  Stags’  Leap  wines embody a natural balance, exhibiting both intensity and finesse.

Tasting Notes

The 2011 Napa Valley Merlot is at once complex and approachable, opening with generous aromas of dark plum and bright red fruit, with enticing hints of clove and cinnamon throughout.   Juicy red fruit flavors are effortlessly integrated with notes of caramel and savory spice that contribute depth to the polished palate.  Smooth, velvety tannins and a refined texture give this Merlot a distinct level of sophistication while still being very approachable in its early years.

Vineyard Notes

The Napa Valley Merlot is crafted with grapes sourced from vineyards in the southern part of Napa Valley.  Fruit from Oak Knoll makes up the majority of the Napa Valley Merlot, with the remaining 30% of fruit sourced from vineyards in the neighboring appellation of Yountville.  Because Merlot can lose its varietal identity when exposed to too much heat, the fruit from these southern Napa vineyards exhibit fresh fruit character, structured body and bright acidity.

Vintage Notes

The 2011 vintage began with a wet winter and spring that delayed bloom and disrupted fruit set, resulting in lower yields in many parts of Napa Valley. While cool temperatures delayed vine development by several weeks throughout the valley, our Merlot vineyards matured at an even pace and showed normal ripeness by Harvest.  The grapes for the 2011 Napa Valley Merlot were picked before the October rains and remained unaffected by the autumn storms.

Winemaking Notes

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  16  months.  This  deliberate  lesser  percentage  of  new  oak imparts structure, ageability and a slight spice complexity to the wine that still allows the fresh fruit flavors to take center stage.

Varietal Composition: 89% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, 1% Petite Sirah
ABV: 13.7%