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Date Printed: 4/28/2015
Havens Reserve Merlot 2002
Havens Reserve Merlot 2002
(search item no. 97700)
International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
PRICE ON 4/28/2015: $22.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2003 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Blend: 90% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon

With a full two years bottle aging before release, the 2002 Merlot Carneros is already developed into a stylish wine: dark plummy fruit, subtle notes of baking spices and anise, and a broad-but-firm backbone. This wine shows off 2002's forward, juicy flesh, but will develop complexity over many years. If you appreciate the great wines of Bordeaux's Right Bank but love the explosion of Napa Valley fruit, you will find this Carneros Reserve bottling just that magical combination.

Our Reserve bottling of Merlot is distinguished from its Napa Valley brother in ways that may not be obvious from their designations. Instead of simply saving the "biggest" wines for the Reserve, each bottling has its own virtues, with the wine's intended style in mind. The Reserve is designed to emphasize the non-fruit complexity of the variety, a wine that also will develop gracefully with age. So we tend to use vineyard lots with more total tannin, greater volume and texture of mouthfeel, as well as darker fruits, which age in the bottle to lovely forest and spice characters. Texture and length are certainly hallmarks here, backed by dense fruit, but it is greater complexity and structure that define the Reserve.

My Notes:

About Havens Wine Cellars:

Founded in 1984 by winemaker Michael Havens, Havens Wine Cellars have earned distinction for its Merlot, Syrah and their Bordeaux-style red blend called Bouriquot.

Havens Wine Cellars is located just south of Yountville and a short quieting drive off Highway 29, Napa Valley’s main winery tour route. The pastoral 10-acre site located on the Mayacamas benchland includes a 7½ acre vineyard of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah grapes lovingly tended.

Our own estate vineyard on Hoffman Lane, planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Syrah, is an interesting variation on the south Napa Valley vineyard characteristics we value so much. First, we are actually in a little warmer spot here than many of our other vineyards because we sit close to the Mayacamas foothills, slightly in their lee from the prevailing south wind. This means that our daily cooling from the marine airflow is a bit delayed, keeping us warmer for an hour or two longer than vineyards even a few miles east. On the other hand, since we sit on the east-facing slope, we don’t get the full heat of the afternoon sun like vineyards just across the Valley, five miles away in the Stags Leap District. All this combines to define what is called the “diurnal range,” or the daily swing of temperature and wind, and we think it is the single most important factor in a vineyard’s terroir. Our soils here on Hoffman Lane are deep, but include a lot of gravel in the clay loam, and thus they can dry out quickly without drip irrigation. We are still learning the subtleties of farming this site, but have found Syrah here especially well-adapted to the place.