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.
Undoubtedly proving its merit over and over, Napa Valley is a now a leading force in the world of prestigious red wine regions. Though Cabernet Sauvignon dominates Napa Valley, other red varieties certainly thrive here. Important but often overlooked include Merlot and other Bordeaux varieties well-regarded on their own as well as for their blending capacities. Very old vine Zinfandel represents an important historical stronghold for the region and Pinot noir is produced in the cooler southern parts, close to the San Pablo Bay.
Perfectly situated running north to south, the valley acts as a corridor, pulling cool, moist air up from the San Pablo Bay in the evenings during the hot days of the growing season, which leads to even and slow grape ripening. Furthermore the valley claims over 100 soil variations including layers of volcanic, gravel, sand and silt—a combination excellent for world-class red wine production.