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Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Merlot 2014

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Quick Overview

With freshness and acidity underscoring its cool climate origins, the wine combines delicious black cherry, cassis and licorice flavors with subtle notes of leather, pepper and cinnamon.
Stags' Leap Winery Napa Valley Merlot

Details

Established in 1893, Stags’ Leap Winery is one of the oldest wine estates within the acclaimed Stags Leap district, continually producing wines expressive of its unique terroir. With an enduring wine making philosophy of minimal intervention, and by using the finest grapes from our own 85-acre vineyard and from quality-focused growers, Stags’ Leap wines embody a natural balance, exhibiting both intensity and finesse. A dry winter gave way to rains in early spring, and temperate weather at the time of bud break brought little in the way of frost damage. Flowering and fruit set was facilitated by dry weather in late spring, and a relatively moderate summer gave the fruit ample time to ripen slowly to its full potential. There was a brief rain event in early/mid-October, but by that time the vast majority of the grapes were safely in the winery. Because Merlot tends to lose its varietal identity when exposed to too much heat, our Napa Valley Merlot is sourced primarily from vineyards in the southern half of Napa Valley below Yountville, where the nights, in particular, are significantly cooler. The Merlot grapes from this area exhibit fresh fruit character and structured acidity. Handpicked at the peak of flavor development, the grapes for this wine underwent a 15-day maceration period designed to pull flavor, color and tannin from the skins. Using traditional winemaking techniques, Winemaker Christopher Paubert aged this Merlot in 100% French oak barrels (35% new) for 16 months; the lesser percentage of new oak imparts structure and a slightly spicy character to the wine but allows the fresh fruit flavors to take center stage. The Stags’ Leap Napa Valley Merlot is what Winemaker Christopher Paubert describes as a “serious Merlot.” With freshness and acidity underscoring its cool climate origins, the wine combines delicious black cherry, cassis and licorice flavors with subtle notes of leather, pepper and cinnamon.
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