2017 Merlot, Napa Valley

NAPA VALLEY
$34.00 per bottle   /   $28.90 club price
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93 points, Wine Spectator

This Merlot offers brambly red fruit, pomegranates, raspberry jam, red currants, dried mission figs, and layers of graphite and cocoa dust. On the palate, this Merlot has fine, firm tannins alongside dark cranberries, black cherry pie, raspberry coulis, toasted walnuts, leather, and vanilla toasted brioche. It is supple in texture and shows attractive depth on the finish. Enjoy right now and through 2030 with proper cellaring.

WINEMAKER NOTES

Upon hand harvesting in the early morning hours, our grapes were carefully destemmed and sent to tank for a whole-berry fermentation. The grapes were cold soaked in tank at 45˚F for 4-7 days, allowing for increased color, aroma, and flavor extraction. After inoculation with a select yeast, the grape must (juice, skins, and seeds) fermented at 82˚F, which allowed for a hot extraction on the skins. For fermentation cap management, the juice was pumped over the skins two times per day, wetting the cap evenly for a nice healthy fermentation. After fermentation and pressing, the wine was aged in 35% new French oak and 65% neutral oak for 20 months before bottling. The blend is 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot. Whitehall Lane has always utilized the art of blending to make a Merlot with layers of flavors, complexity, and balance. These elements assist with the goal of varietal typicity in creating the perfect Merlot. This 2017 Napa Valley Merlot was bottled unfined and unfiltered.

THE VINTAGE

The 2017 year began with abundant rainfall, followed by a mild Spring resulting in extended flowering with little shatter. The summer warmed up nicely, allowing the fruit to mature at an even rate and make optimum conditions for flavor development. A Labor Day weekend heat event kicked harvest into high gear, then cool weather allowed sugar levels to return to normal. Our Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grapes were harvested in mid-September and the first week in October, when they were in perfect balance. The fruit is predominantly from Rutherford, St. Helena, and the Oak Knoll District appellations.

WINE FACTS

Winemaker: Jason Moulton 

Appellation: Napa Valley   

Alcohol: 14.7% 

Blend: 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot