Our Blackstone 2002 Napa Valley Merlot is
sourced from distinct microclimates within
the cooler southern half of the Napa Valley.
Oak Knoll vineyard, located just south of Yountville on the southern end of the Napa Valley, once again provides the lion's
share of fruit for this year's wine. It is a moderately cool location with well-draining soil; producing fruit with concentrated
blackberry flavors. Just northeast of Oak Knoll, Blackstone chooses mountain-based vineyards high above the valley floor. This
well-draining, rocky terrain produces Merlot fruit with intense flavor and structure; giving Blackstone Napa Valley Merlot its
tannic backbone. Finally, Blackstone sources fruit from cool climate vineyards just south of Napa. Cool, low-yielding and
late-ripening vineyards give the wine bright fruit flavors, nice acid, spice and mineral notes. The combinations of these
distinct growing regions integrate seamlessly into a wine with uncompromising quality and complexity.
2002 was a cool year, with heat spikes in late August and early September. The cool growing season produced excellent quality
and dark color. The Oak Knoll area is unquestionably one of the best places in Napa Valley to grow merlot grapes. Proximity to
the San Francisco Bay provides the warm days and fog shrouded mornings for slow and thorough ripening of the fruit.
For the Napa Valley Merlot, winemaker Dennis Hill crushes and cold-soaks the grapes three days before a commercial yeast
is added. This method permits flavor and color extraction to occur. The grapes are pressed just before fermentation,
emphasizing forward fruit characteristics. The wine was aged in American (60%) and French (40%) oak (35% new, 65%
one - two years) for up to 17 months in 60 gallon barrels. Egg white fining was used to manage tannins.
The 2002 Napa Valley Merlot shows sexy aromas of dark berry fruit, cherry cobbler, rose petals, black pepper and spice. The
generous palate highlights big, mouth-filling black fruit and spicy flavors with a dominating chewy structure and a long finish. This
well-integrated wine is ready for immediate enjoyment. It can be enjoyed with a variety of grilled meats, poultry with rich sauces,
or a decadent Beef Wellington. Delicious now, this vintage has considerable structure that will reward cellaring for up to 15 years.