Blackstone Napa Merlot (half-bottle) 2002
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.
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.
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.