Vintage 2014
Wine Type Red
Varietal Merlot
Region Carneros
Winemaker Jeffrey Stambor

Our Carneros Merlot captures the distinctive, vibrant berry, rose and spice expression of the grapes grown in our vineyards in the Los Carneros American Viticultural Area. The enticing aromas and silky flavors are filled with bright raspberry and wild cherry character. Subtle nuances of sun-warmed red rose, spice and mocha and a hint of sweet smoke from oak barrels add complexity. Fine, integrated tannins softly structure the wine and carry the impression of crushed ripe berries through the lingering finish. Our Merlot makes an especially delicious pairing with lamb shish kebabs; steak; roast duck or turkey; grilled mushrooms and mellow, aged cheeses.

Tasting Notes

Our 2014 Maestro Collection Carneros Merlot shows lovely aromatics of black cherry, wild blackberry, blueberry and plum with subtle nuances of rose, dark chocolate and sweet dried spices. The opulent darkfruit flavors are balanced with fine tannins of natural acidity. This limited bottling of Merlot speaks to both its sense of time and of place, with notable concentration from the small grapes produced by the dry vintage, and distinctive terroir expression from the shallow soils and cool, windy climate of Napa Valley’s Los Carneros region.

Vineyard Note

We sourced the grapes entirely from the Los Carneros AVA, focusing on BV Ranch No. 9. This vineyard is located in a warmer area of this cool, windy region at the southernmost tip of Napa Valley. The site is perfect for Merlot, providing adequate sun exposure for full ripening, yet plenty of cool marine fog for maintaining vibrant acidity. The shallow clay loam soils (Haire and Diablo series) and cool Pacific Ocean air ripen Merlot grapes slowly, allowing for full development of varietal expression and supple, smooth tannins.

Vineyard Note

Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated grapes and high quality. February’s rains brought the total rainfall up to “low, but adequate”, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak in spring and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage’s beautifully ripened grapes.

Winemaking Notes

We made this wine exclusively for the winery’s visitor center. First, we carefully hand-sorted the grapes for optimum quality. To develop the Merlot’s rich, silky flavors, we cold soaked the destemmed grapes for gentle extraction before fermenting them in stainless-steel tanks. After pressing, the wine completed malolactic fermentation in barrels for roundness and complexity. Nineteen months of aging in French oak barrels added intriguing, toasted oak nuances.