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PlumpJack Merlot 2016

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • JD93
  • RP92
0% ABV
Other Vintages
  • JS91
  • RP90
  • RP90
  • RP92
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Winemaker Notes

The 2016 vintage has layers of aromatics ranging from black cherry, plum, and raspberry to graham cracker, vanilla, butterscotch, and sweet hickory smoke. These flavors extend to the palate, which has a rich and silky entry with bright acidity and firm structure, resulting in great tension, balance, and persistence on the finish.

Blend: 96% Merlot, 4% Malbec

Critical Acclaim

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JD 93
Jeb Dunnuck
Made from 96% Merlot and 4% Malbec that’s aging in mostly French oak (there 12% American oak), the 2016 Merlot offers up a forward, sexy, spice-filled style that’s going to drink nicely right out of the gate. Black cherries, red and black currants, toasted spice, vanilla bean and a touch of oak all give way to a medium to full-bodied, layered, ripe, balanced 2016 to drink over the coming 10-15 years.
RP 92
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Containing a 4% splash of Malbec, the deep purple-black colored 2016 Merlot opens with notions of chocolate-covered cherries, plum preserves, spice cake and black pepper with hints of garrigue and wild sage. Full-bodied and boldly fruited in the mouth, the juicy black fruit is well framed by rounded tannins and oodles of freshness, finishing long and spicy.
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PlumpJack

PlumpJack Winery

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PlumpJack Winery, Napa Valley, California
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PlumpJack Winery sits squarely in the heart of Napa Valley's renowned Oakville region, surrounded by a 42-acre estate vineyard highly-regarded for the quality of its Cabernet Sauvignon. Both their winery building and their vineyard date back to the 1800s, when winemaking pioneers first took advantage of a unique position on the valley floor. The east side of their vineyard lies along the foothills of the Vaca mountain range and yields grapes with the kind of bold fruit character that comes from well-drained hillside soils. To the west, their estate lies in the Napa River flood zone. Here, their vines take root in rich, deep clay soild, for grapes with softer, more supple varietal character. From their oldest, rockiest section - the "I" Block, where they source their Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve - to more recent plantings, they strive to maintain balanced vines.
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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.

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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.

PJWPJ16MEC7_2016 Item# 507610