2006 NAPA VALLEY MERLOT, STAGECOACH VINEYARD
In making his first Merlot in California, Stéphane sought to produce a wine that expressed Napa’s unique terroir, but that could match the quality of the Bordeaux Merlots on which he built his reputation. Because only the best fruit grown at the highest elevation would do, Stéphane selected a small, well-ventilated plot of vines in the legendary Stagecoach Vineyard, 1,968 feet up Atlas Peak. The Merlot from this parcel ripens slowly due to its northern exposure and cool climate, building heightened levels of flavor complexity and acidity in the grapes. Volcanic mountain soils imbue the berries with an intensity and mineral presence that – in the delicate hands of a vigneron with Stéphane’s extensive Merlot experience – create the conditions for a wine of power and grace.
The Napa Valley Merlot sports a piercing fragrance of ripe red fruit that leaps from the glass, laced with light mulling spices and caramelized aromas. Concentrated, fresh berry flavors saturate the palate with a crushed velvet texture framed by refreshing acidity. The wine’s powerful finish offers hints of dried cherry skins and dark chocolate shavings. The vibrant freshness that pervades the Merlot comes from coddling these naturally fragile grapes and employing a gentle, hand punch-down extraction. The result is a cool-toned elegance – rarely found in New World Merlot – that reflects Stéphane’s ability to express the nuances of great terroir.
100 cases produced.