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Emmolo Merlot 2012

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • WW95
  • RP92
  • TP92
  • JS91
750ML / 14.9% ABV
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  • WW91
  • WW92
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4.4 14 Ratings
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4.4 14 Ratings
750ML / 14.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This well-balanced and darkly colored wine evokes the scents of saddle leather, coffee and plum, with traces of smokiness amidst its rich fruit. A smooth entry on the palate leads into ripe flavors of plums, prunes and cocoa, balanced by acidity and a grippy tannin character. On the finish: a harmony of fresh earthiness, smoky notes and cocoa's lingering, inviting warmth.

Production and Style
Merlot is a variety that requires hands-on manipulation in the vineyard to make a rich, concentrated wine. Crop thinning throughout the growing season leads to a low yield of rich, concentrated fruit. Grapes are sourced from Emmolo Oak Knoll, which includes two vineyards, one of which my grandfather Frank Emmolo purchased in 1972. On an average summer day, Oak Knoll is about 7 degrees cooler than Rutherford, allowing for a longer "hang time" than in warmer areas, which means that we can push the grapes to full ripeness. Harvest came in early to mid-October, and the combination of cooler weather, crop thinning and gravely light soil created ideal conditions for producing a rich,distinctive Merlot.

Critical Acclaim

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WW 95
Wilfred Wong of Wine.com
One of California's hidden treasures? Perhaps once, but when you carefully release the genie from the bottle, you will find yourself taken on a magic carpet ride. The 2012 Emmolo Merlot is as solid as they come and of California's top wine of the year! Medium garnet red color, may a hint darker (Is the wine blushing because it so good?) Aromas of red fruit and sweet dust waif into the air the best aromas from the Right Bank of Bordeaux or the Walla Walla Valley region of Washington State. But, wait, this one is from the fine sub-appellation, near the city of Napa, called Oak Knoll; on the palate, the wine is stands tall and fine, red fruits, with a gentle note of leather persist as the wine's softness completes the palate's journey. Don't let the wine's pillowy textures fool you, this wine will gain complexity with time. Drinking well now and will gracefully improve over the next half-a-dozen years. (Tasted: April 23, 2015, San Francisco, CA)
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Although this winery has been around since 1944, I am unfamiliar with its wines. Packaged in an interesting bottle with a label sporting green ink, this 2012 Merlot is made in an explosively rich, blockbuster style. Its opaque purple color is accompanied by oodles of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit intertwined with hints of espresso and chocolate. Full-bodied and super-rich, but not overly extracted or astringent, this beautifully made, full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal Merlot should win the hearts and minds of many California wine enthusiasts. It is the complete package – from aromatics to an impressive entry, a full, savory mid-palate, and a long finish. Kudos to producer Jenny Wagner.
TP 92
Tasting Panel
From Jenny Wagner of the Caymus Wagners; dark and rich with smooth texture and lovely, mellow notes of spice, chocolate and plum.
JS 91
James Suckling
This is a very fruity red with plum, berry and lots of earth. Hints of wood too. Full body, round texture and a juicy finish. Fruit-forward and fun. Drink now.
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Emmolo
Emmolo, California
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Emmolo is named for Jenny’s maternal ancestors, who came to Napa Valley in 1923, buying property that remains in the family to this day. Her great-grandfather started a grapevine rootstock nursery that became the leading supplier to Napa Valley growers. Her mom, Cheryl Emmolo, has no brothers and always dreamed of keeping the family name alive by making wine using family vineyards. She launched Emmolo in 1994 and turned the reins over to Jenny in 2011.

On the paternal side, Jenny’s Napa Valley roots trace back to 1857, when her third great-grandfather captained a wagon train to the region, beginning a long history of farming and winemaking. In 1972, Jenny’s father, Chuck Wagner, founded Caymus Vineyards along with her grandparents.

As owner and winemaker for Emmolo Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc, Jenny has pursued a distinct style for these wines and embraces new techniques in both the vineyard and her winemaking. With her Sauvignon Blanc, she is going after a subtle wine that is more minerality-driven than fruit-driven. With her Merlot, she relishes the challenge of enticing people to try a bold, rich wine with a style that is not what they typically expect. Most of the grapes for Emmolo are still grown on family property, and Jenny’s grandparents still live in Napa Valley – where they sit on their porch keeping an eye on the vines.

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Napa Valley

Red Wine

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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.

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CAR27900_12_2012 Item# 133988