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Paradigm Napa Valley Merlot 1999

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
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    Paradigm

    Paradigm

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    Paradigm, Napa Valley, California
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    Ren & Marilyn Harris have been growing grapes in Napa Valley since 1964. They purchased Paradigm in 1976 and totally replanted the vineyard twice! The first time was to change the grape varieties and the second time was to protect the vineyard from phyloxera, which struck Napa Valley in the late 1980’s.

    About thirty percent of the grape production at Paradigm is used by the winery and the balance is sold to other premium Napa Valley wineries. It is the intention of the Harris’ to remain at the current five thousand case annual production in order to maintain the close personal contact they enjoy with both the Paradigm crew and the Paradigm wine drinkers they have befriended over the years.

    Marilyn is a third generation Napa Valley grape grower whose grandparents came to Napa Valley from the hills of Northern Italy to grow grapes in 1890. Marilyn is assisted by Ren & Marilyn’s daughter Jennifer Harris and together they run the day-to-day business at Paradigm.

    Ren Harris is a sixth generation Californian whose predecessors settled San Diego in 1769 and whose great great grand uncle was General Mariano Vallejo; the last Mexican governor of California. Paradigm is located on land General Vallejo gave to George Yount in 1835. Yount in turn planted the first grapes in Napa Valley. Ren is in charge of wine and grape production.

    Napa Valley

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    One of the world's most highly regarded regions for wine production and tourism, the Napa Valley is the AVA that brought worldwide recognition to California winemaking. The area was settled by a few choice wine families in the 1960's who bet that the wines of the area would grow and flourish. They were right. The Napa wine industry really took off in the 1980's, when vineyard lands were scooped up and vines were planted throughout the county. A number of wineries emerged, from large conglomerates to small boutiques to cult classics. Cabernet Sauvignon is definitely the grape of choice here, with many winemakers also focusing on Bordeaux blends. Whites are usually Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.

    Within the Napa Valley lie many smaller sub-AVAs that lend even more character specifics to the wines. Furthest south is Carneros, followed by Yountville, Oakville & Rutherford. Above those two are St.-Helena and the valley's newest AVA, Calistoga. These areas are situated on the valley floor and are known for creating rich, smooth Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Chardonnay. There are a few mountain regions as well, nestled on the slopes overlooking the valley AVAs. Those include Howell Mountain, Stags Leap District, and Mt. Veeder. Wines from the mountain regions are often more structured and firm, benefiting from more 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. One simply needs to look to Bordeaux to understand Merlot's status as a noble variety. On the region’s Right Bank, it dominates in blends with Cabernet Franc, and on the Left Bank, 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 and Cabernet Franc.

    CAR28943_1999 Item# 58881