Evoking a dark berry coulis brushstroke, this Merlot presents a nearly black core with a shimmering ruby edge. Aromas of ripe black plum, fresh-baked pie crust and savory soy waft gently from the glass. The palate is complex and layered, with notes of wild blackberry, sandalwood, bay leaf, cinnamon oil, brown butter and
orange peel. A gorgeous mouth-feel showcases an alluring shale-like minerality and fresh acidity on a firm bed of sweet tannins. Deep and concentrated, the finish serves as a potent reminder of the wine's highelevation Napa Valley pedigree.
Blend: 85% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec
"One of the most beautiful wines of the year, the 2011 Merlot is endowed with tremendous energy, much of it because of the high percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon and a reliance of fruit from mountain sites rather than the valley floor, which simply proves just how great this overlooked vintage is in the right spots. Graphite, smoke, tar, licorice and plum notes meld into the finish. This is a knockout wine from Pahlmeyer. The 2011 will drink well early but it has more than enough depth to drink well for a number of years. The blend is 76% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Franc and 2% Malbec. In 2011, the Merlot came from hillside parcels only.
Vinous / Antonio Galloni
"Full red-ruby. Candied blackberry, licorice, lead pencil and a faint herbal note on the nose. Juicy, spicy and precise, offering good sweetness to its dark fruit flavors. Perhaps not as stuffed with material as the 2010 but this is fresher and more focused. Finishes firm and persistent. Winemaker Kale Anderson noted that this fruit was all picked after the rains (until November 2) but that the hillside sites fared well in 2011. The merlot got very ripe, he added.
International Wine Cellar