"Our goal with Merlot is to showcase the best of this noble and important Bordeaux variety. We start by sourcing fruit from our Oakville Estate, which provides body and structure—this gives our Merlot big shoulders. We then blend in fruit from vineyards in the cooler southern half of Napa Valley stretching from the Oakville District south to Carneros, in particular the renowned sub-district of Oak Knoll. From these vineyards the Merlot shows vibrant flavors, dense color, and supple texture. Each vineyard block is made separately, giving it the care and attention to reach its full expression. Together, the lots combine beautifully. Our Merlot is often called a Cab-lovers Merlot for its body and richness, a designation we are proud of.
The 2008 season proved to be a vintage of low rainfall, resulting in a small crop and high quality. The weather started out dramatically, with many spring frosts, followed by a moderate summer and warm fall. A 10-day September heat wave accelerated ripening, bringing about a harvest that was a little on the early side. Oakville Estate reds quickly developed rich, full flavors and supple texture. We began picking Merlot on September 11 in Oakville, and continued through October 10 in the Oak Knoll appellation." -Winery