2015 TEXTBOOK Vineyards Merlot
- Superb sites in the renown Napa Valley AVA highlight the world-class pedigree of this release
- Classic Bordelaise winemaking (handwork in Napa Valley vineyard, modest use of new French oak barrels, egg-white fining) partnered with a touch of Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon provides a richly textured and balanced result.
Vintage 2015 followed the excellent 2013 and 2014 and led to debates as to which vintage was "better." Our sense is they are all very, very high quality; all had abundant sunshine, cool evenings and a dry harvest season. 2015 started out very wet, allowing the grapes to get a much-needed drink. Summer saw sustained warmth and drought and led to an early harvest with very small berries. Our 2015 Napa Valley Merlot lots were deeply colored, richly textured and showed great promise from the get-go.
Originally brought to the United States in the 1850's from Pomerol by Antoine Delmas, Merlot is, at its best, a textured wine capable of great power and elegance. Our Merlot comes from two blocks located within the famed Napa Valley AVA. Each site brings unique attributes and adds complexity. These sites showcase diverse gravelly and loam soils. The Oak Knoll lot brings backbone, sweet red fruit and tannins. The Oakville District lot showcases color and deeply textured, high-quality tannins. The small Cabernet fraction adds power and "grip". Together, they all complete a wonderful package. Exemplary sustainable farming practices are employed in these sites and after veraison unevenly ripened bunches were hand culled which reduced yield to about 6.3 pounds per vine (@ 3.1 tons/acre).
Hand-picked clusters were field sorted, and then hand-sorted at an average of 24.6 Brix. Cold soaking for 2 days in open-top temperature-controlled fermenters developed color and flavor in the absence of alcohol. Fermentation began spontaneously with prevailing yeasts and two daily punch downs kept the cap immersed in must, extracting superb flavor and structure. After innoculation with cultured yeasts, fermentation completed and was followed by sixteen days on the skins. The must was gently pressed into French oak barriques where it slowly completed ML fermentation. The press fraction was not used. Barrels were of the highest quality; 100% French, 35% new, two-year air-dried, medium-plus toast and handbent by Cadus and Francois Freres in central France. Fourteen months barrel maturation with two rackings and one egg white fining integrated flavors and developed a silky mouth-feel.
Regional Composition: 100% Napa Valley (65% Oak Knoll, 35% Oakville District)
Varietal Composition: 92% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon
TA: 0.56 g/100mL
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