Our 1999 Carneros Merlot displays deep, velvety layers of dark fruit, violets and spices from grapes grown in this celebrated region at the southern tip of Napa and Sonoma Valleys. We select the grapes for our limited-production "district wines" from exceptional vineyard sites that we believe best exemplify the personality of the region. The highly extracted, well-balanced flavors reflect both the vineyard flavor profiles and the small crop resulting from the La Niña weather pattern of the 1999 vintage. Designated an American Viticultural Area in 1983, the Carneros region has unique soils and a cool marine climate that ripens the grapes slowly, allowing time for development of rich flavors and silky tannins. We enhanced the complexity of these flavors with gentle handcrafting, including extended maceration and aging the wine for 15 months in French oak barrels. This wine is especially delicious with roast duck or grilled lamb loin with asparagus, avocado and tomato salad.