Cakebread Cellars, Merlot Napa Valley 2016


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The Napa Valley Merlot fruit comes primarily from the Suscol Springs Estate vineyard at the southern end of the Napa Valley. Vines struggle in rocky Hambright outcrop soils planted on steep hillsides with a southern exposure. These blocks produce grapes with distinctive, true-to-varietal flavors, bright acidity and a muscular structure that is ideal for aging. Each vineyard lot is harvested, de-stemmed and crushed separately. The various lots are fermented in a mix of small closed and open-top stainless steel tanks, with pumpovers to fully extract color, flavor and tannin from the skins. After fermentation, the new wines are transferred to carefully selected French oak barrels, approximately one-third new, where they age for six months before being blended. The blended wine then spends an additional eleven months in barrel to impart further complexity to the wine prior to bottling.

Fragrant aromas of ripe black cherry, plum compote, blackcurrant and herbal spice introduce the lush red and black cherry, raspberry, and black plum flavors of this remarkably sumptuous Merlot. Mouth-filling and deeply concentrated on the palate, it is perfectly balanced by bright acidity and supple, fine-grained tannins, culminating in a long, spicy, cherry-laced finish. Delicious upon release, this youthful Merlot will continue to develop complexity with another 5-7 years’ aging.

An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.

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