Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Merlot 2017
The 2017 Spring Mountain Merlot is a serious complex wine. In previous years, the red bright fruit took the lead, where this year it falls more into the cassis black fruit with layers of spice. Gravel minerality and earth surround the dark fruit. The wine is stereotypically rich and lush as is expected from low yielding mountain Merlot. Blackcurrants and cooking chocolate dominate the
palate. The tannins are much firmer than in previous years with well-balanced mountain acidity. This big Merlot will age wonderfully over the next 14-15 years (2033-2034).
Blend: 81% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2017 Merlot is a solid effort, offering pretty notes of black cherries, black tea, leafy herbs, and chocolate. Medium-bodied, with nicely integrated acidity and light tannins, it's well-made, balanced, and already delicious. Drink it over the coming decade.
Above the town of St. Helena on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains sits the Spring Mountain District.
A dynamic region, its vineyards, cut by numerous springs and streams, vary in elevation, slope and aspect. Soils differ throughout with over 20 distinct types inside of the 8,600 acres that define the appellation. Within that area, only about 1,000 are planted to vineyards. Predominantly farmed by small, independent producers, the region currently has just over 30 wineries.
During the growing season, late afternoon Pacific Ocean breezes reach the Spring Mountain vineyards, which sit at between 400 and 1,200 feet. Daytime temperatures during mid summer and early fall remain slightly cooler than those of the valley floor.
Spring Mountain soils—volcanic matter and sedimentary rock—create intense but balanced reds with lush and delicate tannins. The area excels with Bordeaux varieties such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot and in some cooler spots, Chardonnay.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.