Our 2002 Merlot is a wine of deep, inky color and concentrated fruit characters edged in rich spice notes. The nose reveals aromas of roasted strawberries, ripe blueberries, brown sugar, smoky barrel spice and freshly brewed tea. The mouth-feel is dense, showing a hefty structure balanced by round tannins. Extracted flavors of boysenberry, blue plum and Rainier cherry play against exotic notes of hoisin and freshly ground coffee beans.
Our family vineyard is located on the valley floor just north of St. Helena on the Silverado Trail. It has well-drained, sandy, alluvial soils and is characterized by its ability to produce complex wines with well-defined fruit flavors, gentle acids and naturally balanced tannins.
Following harvest, the grapes were de-stemmed but not crushed, allowing increased control over tannin extraction by minimizing the possibility of broken skins and split seeds. Following a 48-hour cold soak to extract color and flavor, the grapes were fermented for 10 days, with pump-overs occurring twice daily. The free-run was transferred to an equal number of new and two-year-old French oak barrels for malolactic fermentation. After 17 months in barrel it was blended with small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot and prepared for bottling.
The 2002 growing season began with normal rainfall, and continued with even weather patterns that allowed for consistent ripening and balanced tannins. Shortly before harvest a record-breaking 18-day heat wave quickly boosted fruit intensity and skin pigment resulting in wines of marked concentration, rich color, and notable extraction.