2009 Napa Valley Merlot
An exceptional blend of Napa Valley Merlot grapes selected specifically for their concentrated character provides layers of ripe blueberry and plum flavors complemented by aging in French oak barrel and a velvety texture.
With minimal frost in the spring, and relatively few hot spells in the summer and fall, the 2009 growing season in Napa Valley was mild, allowing for a long, slow ripening season and an easygoing start to the picking. However, cool weather, and then dramatic rain showers, in late October interrupted harvest, but patience and careful monitoring of the vineyards allowed us to deftly work around the rains and still pick at optimum maturity. Overall, tonnage increased from 2008 to be of more average size, and harvest wrapped up by the end of October.
Tony accomplished a vibrant layering of flavors in the Oberon Merlot by blending fruit from emerging Napa Valley regions that allowed him to take advantage of different soil types and microclimates from around the valley. The Merlot was primarily sourced from Wooden Valley, a small valley nestled against the Vaca Mountain range. Even though it sits on the eastern side of the Napa Valley, the orientation of the mountain range allows for influence from the San Francisco Bay Delta and the vineyards sit right at the marine layer line. The fog banks from the delta creep up through the rolling hills of the valley, and this allows for a longer growing season, giving time for perfect balance to develop in the Merlot grapes.
To naturally soften tannins and enhance varietal complexity, Tony gave the wine an extended maceration. He then pressed the wine and transferred it to French oak barrels (45% new oak) to undergo a long malolactic fermentation for roundness and depth. Blending in the Syrah added interesting nuances to the lush berry flavor profile of the Merlot. Dense black fruit aromas are followed by blueberry and chocolate flavors, and supple tannins on the palate.
Enjoy this lovely Napa Valley Merlot with steak, pan seared salmon and pork chops, as well as sautéed vegetables.
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89 Points - 2009 Merlot
"The biggest surprise was the brilliant 2009 Merlot (92% Merlot, 7% Syrah and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon). This delicious effort displays a dense ruby/purple color in addition to white chocolate, mocha, black cherry and cassis aromas and flavors. This lush, succulent, medium-bodied sleeper of the vintage should drink well for 3-5 years."
-Wine Advocate, October 2012
Varietals: Merlot 83.72%,
Syrah 12.26%, Other varieties 4.02%
Appellation: Napa Valley
Barrel Aging: 18 months in French oak
Wine Stats: Alcohol 13.7%, pH 3.79, TA 5.64 g/l