Blend: 90% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon
With a full two years bottle aging before release, the 2002 Merlot Carneros is already developed into a stylish wine: dark plummy fruit, subtle notes of baking spices and anise, and a broad-but-firm backbone. This wine shows off 2002's forward, juicy flesh, but will develop complexity over many years. If you appreciate the great wines of Bordeaux's Right Bank but love the explosion of Napa Valley fruit, you will find this Carneros Reserve bottling just that magical combination.
Our Reserve bottling of Merlot is distinguished from its Napa Valley brother in ways that may not be obvious from their designations. Instead of simply saving the "biggest" wines for the Reserve, each bottling has its own virtues, with the wine's intended style in mind. The Reserve is designed to emphasize the non-fruit complexity of the variety, a wine that also will develop gracefully with age. So we tend to use vineyard lots with more total tannin, greater volume and texture of mouthfeel, as well as darker fruits, which age in the bottle to lovely forest and spice characters. Texture and length are certainly hallmarks here, backed by dense fruit, but it is greater complexity and structure that define the Reserve.