The Merlot fruit for this wine was sourced from several long-term growers in Alexander Valley and Dry Creek Valley. Alexander Valley Merlot is known for a characteristic softness, with elegant, round tannins, while Dry Creek Valley Merlot offers more intense, firmly structured tannins. Tannin structure was sufficient to forego blending with Cabernet Sauvignon, and to stand up to long aging in new oak. The 1997 Winemakers Reserve Merlot features forward oak and black cherry, with complex toast, cedar, mint and berry spice aromas. This wine offers near-term elegance as well as bottle aging potential.