Barnett Vineyards Spring Mountain Merlot 2018
The 2018 Spring Mountain Merlot is a very bright and fruit driven wine. The nose is bursting with black cherries and blueberry pie as well as cinnamon toast and caramel. There is some pleasant underpinning eucalyptus and gravel minerality. As always with this wine the mouth is full and rich. The tannins are present but soft as the lush viscosity coats them. The acidity is present but softer than previous years. There is a wonderful chocolate and cherry finish. This big fruit driven wine is drinking nicely in its youth but will develop some bottle bouquet over the next 8-9 years (2028-2029).
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
The 2018 Merlot is a blend of 88% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3.5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3.5% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple in color, it gives up earthy notes of truffles, damp soil and moss over a core of warm plums and blackberry pie. Medium to full-bodied, soft and plush, it has bags of juicy black fruit with a lively line and lifted finish.
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.