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Leducq Vineyards Sylviane Merlot 1999

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
    0% ABV
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    0% ABV

    Winemaker Notes

    The Merlot opens with aromas of blueberries, black currents and hints of plum, giving way to anise and black cherry. The palate is full and round with subtle tannins and a lingering finish.

    The color, flavors and tannins were extracted using traditional Bordeaux winemaking techniques. After 21 months of aging in small French oak barrels, the wine was fined with egg whites and bottled.

    Critical Acclaim

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    Leducq Vineyards

    Leducq Vineyards

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    Leducq Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
    Leducq Vineyards is an established Napa Valley wine producer focusing on limited production of red Bordeaux-style wines. The property is named after founder Jean Leducq, a Parisian businessman.

    The cornerstone of Leducq is the associated 41.5-acre estate vineyard located just north of the town of St. Helena in the Napa Valley. It is a beautifully situated, well-drained, gently sloped parcel planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. The front 35 acres of the Ehlers Lane property were purchased in the late 1980s. In 2001 Leducq Vineyards reunited the front acreage with the historic Ehler's Lane winery (Est. 1886) and the northern vineyards.

    The vineyard was developed with the help of world famous French enologist, Jacques Boissenot who directed all aspects of vineyard development including vine spacing, trellising systems, clonal and rootstock selections and farming regimes. With the implementation of his winemaking and vineyard programs, Mr. Boissenot established Leducq’s style. In 1999, Leducq Vineyards engaged longtime Napa Valley Winemaker Nils Venge as consulting winemaker. The winemaking team believes in the importance of terroir in the creation of an exceptional wine. The site, soil, climate, variety, clones, yield and berry size all contribute to intensely flavored grapes with ripe tannins. Strict adherence to French winemaking techniques, such as barrel to barrel racking every 3 months and egg white fining to polish the wine, is integral to the creation of Leducq Vineyards' style.

    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.

    CPA04257_1999 Item# 55150