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Blackstone Napa Merlot (half-bottle) 2002

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    0% ABV
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    Winemaker Notes

    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.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Blackstone

    Blackstone Winery

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    Blackstone Winery, Napa Valley, California
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    Sonoma County has always been Blackstone's home and inspiration. Since our beginning we’ve established a reputation for consistently delivering balanced, reliable wines of uncompromising quality

    From the start, our goal has been to produce smooth, flavorful, harmonious wines with rich fruit, supple texture, and balanced oak. Early on, this approach found its ideal expression in our Merlot, which soon became — and still remains — America's favorite Merlot.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production as well as tourism, the Napa Valley was responsible for bringing worldwide recognition to California winemaking. In the 1960s, a few key wine families settled the area and hedged their bets on the valley's world-class winemaking potential—and they were right.

    The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980s, when producers scooped up vineyard lands and planted vines throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, and today Napa is home to hundreds of producers ranging from boutique to corporate. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Napa whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that claim specific characteristics based on situation, slope and soil. Farthest south and coolest from the influence of the San Pablo Bay is Carneros, followed by Coombsville to its northeast and then Yountville, Oakville and Rutherford. Above those are the warm St. Helena and the valley's newest and hottest AVA, Calistoga. These areas follow the valley floor and are known generally for creating rich, dense, complex and smooth reds with good aging potential. The mountain sub appellations, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs, include Stags Leap District, Atlas Peak, Chiles Valley (farther east), Howell Mountain, Mt. Veeder, Spring Mountain District and Diamond Mountain District. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from a lot of time in the bottle to evolve and soften.

    An easy-going red variety with generous fruit and a supple texture, Merlot’s subtle tannins make it perfect for early drinking and allow it to pair with a wide range of foods. But the grape also has enough stuffing to make serious, world-renowned wines. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, in St. Emilion and Pomerol, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc. On the Left Bank in the Medoc, it plays a supporting role to (and helps soften) Cabernet Sauvignon—in both cases resulting in some of the longest-lived and highest-quality wines in the world. They are often emulated elsewhere in Bordeaux-style blends, particularly in California’s Napa Valley, where Merlot also frequently shines on its own.

    In the Glass

    Merlot is known for its soft, silky texture and approachable flavors of ripe plum, red and black cherry and raspberry. In a cool climate, you may find earthier notes alongside dried herbs, tobacco and tar, while Merlot from warmer regions is generally more straightforward and fruit-focused.

    Perfect Pairings

    Lamb with Merlot is an ideal match—the sweetness of the meat picks up on the sweet fruit flavors of the wine to create a harmonious balance. Merlot’s gentle tannins allow for a hint of spice and its medium weight and bright acidity permit the possibilities of simple pizza or pasta with red sauce—overall, an extremely versatile food wine.

    Sommelier Secret

    Since the release of the 2004 film Sideways, Merlot's repuation has taken a big hit, and more than a decade later has yet to fully recover, though it is on its way. What many viewers didn't realize was that as much as Miles derided the variety, the prized wine of his collection—a 1961 Château Cheval Blanc—is made from a blend of Merlot with Cabernet Franc.

    WWH33128N1_2002 Item# 80684