2012 TEXTBOOK Vineyards Merlot
Rutherford, Napa Valley

Textbook Rutherford Merlot

  • Superb sites in the renown Rutherford AVA highlight the world-class pedigree of this release
  • Classic Bordelaise winemaking (handwork in 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

Buy this wine

Price: $25 per bottle

Shipping and handling included at no charge on 6+ bottles!


"Proprietors Jonathan and Susan Pey have produced a beautiful 2012 Merlot from Rutherford. The color is nearly black and the wine is deep and full-bodied with lots of chocolaty berry fruit. This is a bigger, bolder, more exuberant, forceful style of Merlot than one normally sees in California. It should drink well for 7-10 years."
- Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, November 2014

"A stylish, complex Merlot with good depth and balance, and a long, lightly tannic finish. It tastes of plum, red licorice, cassis, herbs, and spicy oak. Pomerol-like in style."
- Restaurant Wine, Issue #147-149, 2013

"Full-bodied, opulent and endearing... another great buy from TEXTBOOK."
- Robert Parker, The Wine Advocate, October 2013

"Inky purple. Aromas and flavors of dark berries and cherry pit, with a chocolatey overtone. Shows modest concentration to its bitter cherry and cassis flavors, which pick up a peppery nuance with air. Closes on a spicy note, with good clarity and soft tannins."
- Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar, May/June 2013


After a difficult 2011, the weather in 2012 was a very welcome change! Sunshine and warmth came when we needed it.  And rain came only when we wanted it. It was a classic, even vintage from start to finish. A moderately warm summer moved ripening along well, and crop size was good, so inferior and under ripe clusters were quickly dropped. The vines sailed toward harvest through September with nary a worry. Our 2012 Merlot lots were deeply colored, richly textured and showed great promise. 


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 Merlot blocks located within the famed Rutherford AVA. The Rutherford AVA is miniscule, representing only 0.8% of all California vineyards and echoes of the famous names of De Latour, Inglenook and Tchelistcheff. Each site brings unique attributes and adds complexity to this wine. These sites showcase gravelly, loam soils (“Rutherford Dust”) whereas the Oakville site has a more rocky footprint. Exemplary sustainable farming practices are employed in these sites and after veraison unevenly ripened bunches were hand culled which reduced yield to about 6.5 pounds per vine (@ 3.2 tons/acre). 


Hand-picked clusters were field sorted, and then hand-sorted at an average of 25.5 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 inoculation with cultured yeasts, fermentation completed and was followed by seventeen 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. Our final assemblage included a soupçon of Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon. Sixteen months barrel maturation with two rackings and one egg white fining integrated flavors and developed a silky mouth-feel.


Regional Composition: 92% Rutherford, 8% Oakville  
Varietal Composition: 96% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
pH: 3.67
TA: 0.58 g/100mL
Alcohol: 14%

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