Our 2007 grape crop exhibited many high quality wine indicators as a result of the year's lower rainfall, early bloom, timely veraison and moderate temperatures. The limited amount of vine stress due to low rainfall over the winter and a solid, warm summer without a lot of heat spikes fostered even grape ripening. The cluster shapes and berry sizes looked ideal. The crop was smaller, with lighter clusters, smaller berries, and thicker skins lending a tannic bite that will yield wines with exceptional structure and age-worthiness. There was an ideal mix of well ripened and just-right berries with very little variation. We expected a short, furious harvest; however, it ended up being one of the longer ones starting September 14th and ending on October 15th.
Our family vineyard is located on 40 acres of Napa 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. The fruit from this small section of vineyard is largely devoted to blending into our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon and Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon wines with any excess reserved for a small production, varietal Merlot wine.
The grapes were harvested in late September where they were promptly de-stemmed but not crushed, allowing increased control over tannin extraction by minimizing the possibility of broken skins and split seeds. After 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 100% French oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation, and barrel aged for 20 months.
This is a generous, complex Merlot that will please even the most serious Cab drinker. The appearance is a shimmering deep purple that is alluring at the sight of it. The nose reveals cherry, red apple, currant, blueberry, violet and baking spice notes while in the mouth, you are rewarded with rich, round tannins and well integrated oak. Dark cherries enveloped by oak spice and lush plum notes linger on the smooth finish. Recommended drinking time is three to four years from the vintage, with about one hour of breathing prior to drinking. Maximum suggested aging is eight to ten years from the vintage.
Vineyard Manager: Eric Titus
Winemaker: Phillip Titus
Appellation: Napa Valley
Blend: 98% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
Harvest Date: 09/14/07
Barrel Aging: 20 months, 100% French oak - 1/3 new oak, 2/3 2 year old barrels
Bottled: July 2009
Cases Produced: 406
Total Acidity: .54 g/100 ml