Emmolo Merlot 2011
Jenny Wagner, Winemaker
In the Vineyard
I sourced grapes for this vintage from the Emmolo Oak Knoll vineyard located near the city of Napa in a sub-appellation called Oak Knoll. It's ten miles nearer the San Francisco Bay than Rutherford and has a cooler microclimate. The site was strategically chosen for its soils and moderate climate, which are appropriate for growing Merlot.
Our Merlot flourishes at this site thanks to the cooler weather - a mild climate allows the berries to hang on the vine longer, letting them fully mature. Crop thinning is essential to balance the vines with a low yield of rich, concentrated fruit that's dark in color and has chalky tannins and ripe flavors. This wine is very much an expression of the well-drained, low vigor soil that is light in color in the Oak Knoll appellation. During harvest, the fruit was hand-picked in the early morning hours between October 20th and October 24th.
Emmolo Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and sparkling wine each feature a distinct style created by Owner/Winemaker Jenny Wagner, who embraces new techniques in both the vineyard and her winemaking. Emmolo is named for Jenny’s maternal relatives, who came to Napa from Sicily in 1923 and founded a rootstock nursery that supplied many of the region’s growers. Their land still provides many of the grapes for Emmolo.
On the paternal side, Jenny’s roots trace back to 1857, when her third great-grandfather captained a wagon train to Napa Valley, beginning a long history of farming and winemaking. In 1972, Jenny’s father, Chuck Wagner, founded Caymus Vineyards along with her grandparents, Lorna and Charlie Wagner Sr. Jenny feels extremely fortunate to be following in her family’s footsteps and to be putting her own mark on Emmolo wines.
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.