Sterling Three Palms Vineyard Merlot 2005
Merlot from Napa Valley, California
Seriously complex and well-structured, our 2005 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot comes from vines that struggle in the rocky, volcanic soils along the eastern flank of Napa Valley. Intense, ripe black cherry aromas virtually jump out of the glass, says Winemaker Mike Westrick about this huge, deep ruby Merlot, he attributes the wine's distinctive mineral character to the vineyard's unique terroir. The opulent black fruit and mineral flavors, layered with mocha, spice and toasty oak, give remarkable weight on the palate, and then linger on the expansive finish. With tannins that combine power with suppleness, this wine already delivers luscious, complex flavors, yet promises cellar-worthiness.
The Wine News - "Vibrant black-garnet hue. Heady aromas of new leather, Hershey's dark chocolate syrup, black cherry and peppermint. Lovely plum and cherry-chocolate flavors impart a defined mintiness. Lasting fruit impressions accented by a lingering menthol nuance."
Sterling Vineyards was born in the 1960s, a time when creativity and entrepreneurial spirit abounded, especially in California. In 1964, Peter Newton, once a paper broker in England, purchased 70 acres of land in Calistoga and became a Napa Valley winemaker. He planted grapes others did not, bottled varietals others did not, and built a dramatic winery with an aerial tramway. His innovations put Sterling Vineyards into the public eye and helped establish the Napa Valley as a premier travel destination.
When Newton began planting his estate, Cabernet Sauvignon was the preferred variety. He planted the esteemed Cabernet, but his decision to also plant Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Merlot was a bold move. His Merlot vines were the first significant planting of that variety in the Napa Valley. Newton saw potential in the soft, velvety Merlot fruit, and in 1969 he took a chance by releasing California's first vintage-dated Merlot. This decision flew in the face of traditional standards, which held that Merlot was merely a blending grape, and forever changed the perception of red wine. People started to enter a restaurant and ask for a glass of Merlot! View all Sterling Vineyards 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.
Customer ReviewsSign In to Add Your Review4.5 }div>4.4 out of 5 stars
- 5 Stars: 11
- 4 Stars: 3
- 3 Stars: 1
- 2 Stars: 1
- 1 Stars: 0
18 ratings, 9 with reviewsA Texan - Houston, TX56/29/2012Sterling - Whittier, CA54/23/2012
Best Merlot I ever tasted. Bold, smooth, fresh and fine taste.DLAshley - Devils Lake, ND31/3/2012Red w/Attitude - Miami, FL47/26/201156/24/2011Outstanding. I would order more if it were available. Aerated 4 times and it was sooooo smoothe.SteamboatCB - Englewood, CO56/10/2011Mary R - Huntersville, NC510/8/2010rlp - Little Rock, AR45/23/2011
- Smooth & Supple
Excellent!Mateo - Los Angeles, CA55/16/201154/16/2011OUTSTANDING! Had a wine tasting party and everyone there wanted me to buy a case of this and split it.Hoora Abdolreza - Pleasanton, CA54/7/2011211/20/2010The tasted like it was going bad! I had to run the bottles through a filter to remove the particules.410/14/2010This is a very big and bold wine. Bigger and bolder than any merlot I had. Make sure to decant or use an aerator. I couldn' wait so I ran it through the aerator like 4 times. This was the first wine I tried but absolutely felt necessary.58/12/2009Probably the very nicest Merlot ever! Rich, aromatic, full bodied with a wonderful lingering finish.58/12/2009Probably the very nicest Merlot ever! Rich, aromatic, full bodied with a wonderful lingering finish.58/12/2009Probably the very nicest Merlot ever! Rich, aromatic, full bodied with a wonderful lingering finish.
- Big & Bold
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.
- 5 Stars: