Twomey Cellars originates in a single Napa Valley vineyard, the Soda Canyon Ranch, where Merlot grows with such extraordinary complexity that it calls for a wine of its own. To showcase the brilliance and balance of these grapes, winemaker Daniel Baron and the owners of the vineyard, Ray Duncan and his family, incorporate the Old World, labor-intensive approach used by classified growths in Bordeaux. Daniel Baron, who learned to make wine this way while working with some of the greatest winemakers and cellarworkers of Pomerol and St. Emilion, demonstrates that the meticulous care involved provides a pure reflection of the Duncan's vineyard.
Created by the same family that produces the impressive Cabernets of Silver Oak Cellars, the 2002 Twomey Merlot is an intense, concentrated wine that combines power and finesse into a beautiful balance. It displays a very dark, ruby color and a velvety, voluptuous mouth-feel with flavors of cherries covered in dark chocolate. Another exceptional handcrafted wine created by the Duncan Family.
"...sexpot of a Merlot" and "very impressive!" Wine Advocate, February 2005
Twomey Cellars by Silver Oak Winery
Twomey Cellars originated with a remarkable vineyard, the Soda Canyon Ranch in southeastern Napa Valley, which the Duncan family – owners of Silver Oak Cellars – acquired in 1999. Planted with the finest French clones in well-drained volcanic soils, the Merlot that is grown there possesses such extraordinary complexity that it calls for a wine of its own. Silver Oak's winemaker, Daniel Baron, developed his passion for Merlot during the early 1980s while working in Pomerol and St. Emilion. He had always hoped to make a California Merlot with a French sensibility, but for many years lacked access to fruit with the characteristics he required. When the Duncan family acquired Soda Canyon Ranch and Daniel realized it was planted with top-flight French clones, Daniel’s long-held dream of producing a Napa Valley Merlot with depth and concentration became reality.
The Duncan Family’s spirit of innovation would lead them to discover new varietals when in 2000, they secured the nine-acre West Pin vineyard in Sonoma’s Russian River Valley, legendary for its extraordinary Pinot Noirs. Several years later, they acquired a winery in Healdsburg where the Pinot Noirs are now produced. Twomey is dedicated to producing Pinot Noir that achieves the greatest balance & expression from four top California appellations, including Sonoma Coast, Russian River Valley, Anderson Valley and Santa Maria Valley. Twomey’s newest offering is Sauvignon Blanc, a crisp, refreshing wine that originates at the family’s estate vineyard in Calistoga. Today, Twomey Cellars is run by Managing Partners and brothers David and Tim Duncan. Founding winemaker Daniel Baron and Winemaker Ben Cane carry out their vision of making wines that eloquently express their vineyard and vintage.
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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.
Within 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 granted 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.
It'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.
Most 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 & Crisp
Light to medium bodied wines that are high in acid and light to medium fruit. Typically no oak.
Fruity & Smooth
Light to medium bodied wines with lots of juicy fruit, typically medium acid and medium oak.
Rich & Creamy
Full bodied wines that have typically undergone malo-lactic fermentation and/or spent time in oak.