94 Points Wine Spectator
Outstanding: a wine of superior character and style.
“Elegantly structured and featuring concentrated cherry tart and raspberry pastry flavors that are loaded with toasty richness. Creamy and spice-filled finish is backed by firm acidity and tannins.”
Since our inaugural 1978 vintage, we have been proud to craft a vineyard-designate Merlot from the legendary Three Palms Vineyard. Named for its three iconic palm trees, this warm, up-valley vineyard features lean soils that cause the vines to send their roots deep in search of nutrients, yielding a profoundly intense and age-worthy wine with complex fruit and mineral layers. As a testament to its status as the benchmark for New World Merlot, in 2017, Wine Spectator honored our 2014 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot as “Wine of the Year.”
VINTAGE NOTES - For both red and white grapes, 2018 offered near picture-perfect growing conditions, with mild spring and summer weather, and no significant heat events. The conditions were ideal for both our Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc, which show beautiful tropical notes and ripe flavors at low sugars. While our Chardonnay harvest began about three weeks later than normal, the fruit arrived at the winery in pristine condition, producing dynamic and complex wines. The excellent growing conditions naturally resulted in a slightly larger than average crop for our red Bordeaux varieties, with fully lignified seeds at low sugars levels. With temperate weather throughout fall, we were able to pick each block at optimal ripeness, yielding exceptionally juicy and polished red wines, with plush, well rounded tannins, and lovely overall structure.
WINEMAKING NOTES - Once again, the famed Three Palms Vineyard has yielded a fascinating and luxuriously full-bodied Merlot. Aromas of huckleberry, black cherry, chocolate and fig rise from the glass, followed by hints of graphite, graham cracker, bay leaf and sage. On the mouth-watering palate the flavors are intense and complex, with velvety tannins and voluptuous fruit balanced by earthy undertones and Three Palms’ classic minerality, all of which carry the wine to a rich and remarkably long finish.
- Appellation - Calistoga, Napa Valley
- Vineyard - Three Palms Vineyard
- Blend - 100% estate fruit - 89% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 0.5% Petit Verdot, 0.5% Malbec
- Fermentation & aging - 100% French Oak: 75% New, 25% Neutral, aged for 18 months