Acre Merlot 2018
The 2018 Acre Merlot is a deep purple-tinged ruby in color. From the first pour, it opens up with enticingly bold aromas of summer fruit, including black cherries, ripe strawberries, and dark plums, which carry over subtly in the mouth. On the palate, the bright acidity and textured tannins support layers of spice, dried herbs, cocoa beans, leather, and cedar, which lead to a lengthy, complex finish that takes its time to unfold. While the 2018 Merlot drinks beautifully in its youth, the robust structure also makes it a perfect candidate for cellaring.
Dave’s one acre “Home” vineyard soon led to production from two more similar sized plantings. The first was his next door neighbor Ann Kraemer’s head trained, Zinfandel vineyard. Ann planted her vineyard about the same time as Dave’s home vineyard with three clones of Zinfandel made famous by Ridge Vineyards. Dave also credits Ann Kraemer, a noted viticulturist and owner of the Rhone varietal focused Shake Ridge Ranch in Amador County, with contributing much to his viticulture education. Finally, in 2011 Dave planted identical Bordeaux clones from his home vineyard to a one acre site in Yountville just north of Stags Leap, allowing an interesting vineyard comparison with identical varietal, clones, spacing and orientation and location the only variable.
Since the “One Acre” 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon bested 500 entries to win top honors in a prestigious international competition in Hong Kong the very limited production “One Acre” wines have been eagerly sought out by knowledgeable wine drinkers. Now in partnership with friend and 30 year wine industry veteran Bob Babbe, the “One Acre” experience is available to a much wider audience with the introduction of ACRE wines.
ACRE wines are produced from exclusively from family owned organically grown vineyards in the stellar AVA’s of Oakville and Yountville. ACRE wines are handcrafted in manner that has characterized One Acre wines from the outset. The ACRE vineyard sites are rich in historical significance being situated on the land where in 1839 George Yount planted the first wine grapes in the Napa Valley.
ACRE growers played a vital role the care and nurturing of the Napa Valley’s agricultural land by taking a leading role in support of the landmark Napa Valley Ag preserve legislation back in 1968. Without this hard fought and far sighted commitment to long term agricultural land use, the incredible viticulture resource of the Napa Valley might have been reduced to just another stretch of urban sprawl.
All ACRE vineyards have been farmed organically for over 20 years, well before it was fashionable, demonstrating enhanced wine quality on top of the ecological benefits.
Dave Becker and Bob Babbe express their mission for ACRE this way, “Blessed with such special vineyards our goal as vintners is to capture the character of the varietal, the place, the soil, the season and express these in every glass of One Acre and ACRE wine”. This effort and reward is encompassed as “Dusty Boots… Stained Hands…Classic Wines”
As Napa Valley’s third most planted grape, Napa Valley Merlot shows time and time again its potential to produce exceptional results. Napa’s vaunted combination of climate, soil and the human factor of winemaking expertise lead to big, ripe, cellar-worthy and world-class versions.
Whether made by itself in single varietal bottlings or as an important role in Bordeaux Blends, Merlot continues a prominent role in this famous region. While Cabernet typically takes the lead role, Merlot’s contribution—even at 10% to 20% or so—is significant indeed. Often described as “the flesh on Cabernet’s bones,” Merlot lends a soft, round and plush character that beautifully complements Cabernet’s linear, full-throttle structure. Its flavors of plums plus subtle herbs and mint also dovetail nicely with Cabernet’s blackberry and cassis.