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Merlot was first planted at Stags Leap in 1971 and produced its first vintage in 1977. Sensitive to both climate and soil, Merlot is not an easy grape to grow nor a wine easily made. But the grape seems to have found a good home in the Napa Valley. At Stags Leap it is our diverse collection of soils that begins to define the differences between two blocks of Merlot plantings, both situated on the western side of the vineyard just 400 feet apart. Block 17 is in a region where layers of rock mingle with sedimentary clays from the mountain shales and river silt. In Merlot block 21, deeper surface loam overlays a composition of less clay and a greater proportion of sand and gravel. Block 21 is the first Merlot we harvest each year. The grapes have firm structure and a distinct briary character. Some four weeks later, we harvest Block 17 where aromas of plum and blackberry dominate the fruit and the mouthfeel is velvety soft.
A fashionable country resort in the mid-twentieth century, popular with Hollywood due to its 1892 stone Manor House and historic gardens, legends of bootleggers and gangsters, ghosts and gypsies, Stags' Leap has been home to three major family groups up through the modern revitalization of the winery that began in the 1970s.
Stags Leap Manor, as it was called in the 1920s, was...Read More About Stags' Leap Winery
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...Read More About Napa Valley
No second fiddle
Merlot is coming back into its own. High popularity led to mass production, which then led to a backlash towards the variety (remember Miles in Sideways?). But passionate Merlot producers, and of course the right bank of Bordeaux, continued to produce quality versions of this grape. Merlot remains the principle grape of top chateaux in St...Read More About Merlot
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