Paloma Spring Mountain Merlot 2008
Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Our Merlot is a blend of Estate Merlot and Estate Cabernet Sauvignon. The percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon ranges from 12 to 18 percent depending on the vintage. The grapes for this wine are picked in very small amounts as each area of the vineyard reaches its peak of ripeness. The grapes are then de-stemmed and the individual berries cracked open by our 20-year-old Healdsburg stemmer/crusher (with the crusher rollers removed) and fermented in small open top fermenters or small stainless steel tanks. After fermentation the pomace is gently pressed in an old fashioned basket press and each pick is put into a stainless steel tank to settle off the gross lees. The wine then goes into our new or used French oak barrels for 19 months of barrel aging.
The resulting wine is a big, world-class red wine capable of improving with bottle aging for 10 to 15 years in most vintages. Although the wine varies with the vintage, they have a consistent thread of complex aromas of black berry fruits, black stone fruits, chocolate, tobacco, spice and floral notes with a mineral overtone. On the palate the wine has a big silky mouth feel, well balanced, with flavors of berries, fruit, cocoa, cassis, and spice, and a long spicy finish. Fruit tannins in our wines tend to be big, but not harsh and are well integrated with the strong fruit component.
Wine Spectator - "Supple and plush, showing great depth, length and balance. Aromas of red currant, loam and olive lead to ripe flavors of plum, sweet mocha and spice. Drink now through 2016."
Connoisseurs' Guide - "Deeply fruited, impressively filled with a very keen sense of dark, well-ripened cherries that indelibly marks it as Merlot, Paloma's latest is an especially well-balanced working that is at once very rich, refined and remarkably polished. It does show a streak of fine-grained finishing tannins, but there is nothing so coarse as to raise any worries, and the wine's fruit eases its way past a bit of last-minute astringency. As good Merlot will, this one might tempt early drinking, but it has a long life before it and should evolve for years to come."
The property is located five miles northwest of St. Helena at the top of Spring Mountain. In the last half of the 19th century it was a vineyard, but was allowed to return to forest around the turn of the century. We still find old redwood grape stakes and even a few old zinfandel vines that survive under the large Douglas fir trees that surround our home. One vine near the house produces one or two clusters of grapes a year that are put into our Merlot blend for good luck. The purchase of this raw land was the beginning of an odyssey that is ongoing, ever changing, but with one goal—to grow the best grapes possible and make a wine that reflects the terroir of our vineyard. View all Paloma Wines
About Napa ValleyView a map of Napa Valley wineries
It's hard not to think of Napa Valley when thinking of California wines. The region is, after all, the one that brought world recognition to California wine making. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux Blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
Notable FactsWithin the Napa Valley lie smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two is St.-Helena and finally, just grated an AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap and Mount Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more time in the bottle to evolve and soften.
About CaliforniaIt's not rare to see a wine's country of origin listed as "California." A country into itself in the wine world, California makes enough varieties and styles to match many European wine countries. It produces a diverse range of wines that span the quality spectrum.
The most famous of the California wine regions is Napa Valley, and these wines are certainly outstanding – but it's not as broad and diverse as its larger neighbor, Sonoma County. Down south, Santa Barbara's Santa Maria Valley is well-known for its Rhône blends, as well as cool-climate varieties like Pinot and Chardonnay. The Central Coast, the largest California AVA, has many different microclimates that lead to a wide range of wines with many sub-AVAs.
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Alcohol By Volume GuideMost wine ranges from 10-16% alcohol by volume. Some varietals tend to have higher (for example Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon) or lower alcohol levels (Pinot Noir and many white varietals), but there is always some variation from producer to producer. Some wine falls outside of this range, for instance Port weighs in closer to 20%, while Muscat and Riesling are usually a bit below 10%.
Wine Style Guide
Light & Fruity
- Red wines that are more fruit-forward and lighter in tannin and body.
Smooth & Supple
- Medium bodied reds that go down easy, with smooth tannins and supple fruit.
Earthy & Spicy
- Wines where earthy and/or spicy dominate the flavors – typically medium to full body.
Big & Bold
- Full bodied wines that have concentrated fruit and are higher in alcohol and/or tannins. Some need age.