Vintage 2016 gave us few weather challenges, which was nice after a rough 2015. 2016 started out a tad wet but sunshine arrived at flowering and the set was good. Summer saw sustained warmth with a bit of rain and led to an even harvest. Our 2016 Napa Valley Merlot yields were about average and the tiny berries were deeply colored, richly textured and showed great promise from the get-go.
Hand-picked clusters were field sorted, and then hand-sorted at an average of 24 Brix. Cold soaking for 2.5 days in open-top temperature-controlled fermenters developed color and flavor in the absence of alcohol. Fermentation began spontaneously with prevailing yeasts and two daily punch downs kept the cap immersed in must, extracting superb flavor and structure. After innoculation with cultured yeasts, fermentation completed and was followed by nineteen days on the skins. The must was gently pressed into French oak barriques where it slowly completed ML fermentation. The press fraction was not used. Barrels were of the highest quality; 100% French, 30% new, two-year air-dried, medium-plus toast and handbent by Cadus and Francois Freres in central France. Fourteen months barrel maturation with two rackings and one egg white fining integrated flavors and developed a silky mouth-feel.
100% French, 30% new