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Provenance Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot 2016

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • RP90
14.9% ABV
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  • WS88
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14.9% ABV

Winemaker Notes

This Napa Valley Merlot opens with a bouquet of red and black berry fruit aromas. Not a wimpy Merlot, this wine is very expressive with tons of ripe black cherry, raspberry, cassis and bramble berry fruit layered with hints of cola, milk chocolate, graham cracker and sweet baking spice notes – all influences from the oak aging integrating perfectly with the varietal and terroir expression. The wine’s plushness invites you in to discover the rich, ripe berry fruit flavors that glide across the pleasing palate. Mouthwatering acidity gives length to the flavors and a nice lift that carries through on the finish, while supple tannins frame this generous Merlot and give it cellar worthiness and a beautiful structure.

Critical Acclaim

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RP 90
Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
Made up of 97% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Malbec aged for 21 months in 24% new oak (88% French and 12% Hungarian) the medium to deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Merlot opens with bags of plums, baked cherries and mulberries-inspired scents with touches of incense, Chinese five spice and dusty soil. Full-bodied with a chewy frame and compelling freshness, it finishes on an earthy note.
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Provenance Vineyards

Provenance Vineyards

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Provenance Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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Provenance Vineyards showcases the distinctiveness of Napa Valley's best growing areas for red wines by selecting some of the finest Cabernet Sauvignon vineyards in the Rutherford and Oakville districts and Merlot vineyards in the Carneros district. The same uncompromising approach also characterizes Provenance winemaking, with the goal of bringing the grapes from these great vineyards to their fullest potential. Starting with its inaugural 1999 vintage, Provenance's approachable, yet cellar-worthy wines display a fine symmetry of substance and elegance.

The word provenance means "origin" or "source." In the art world, a provenance is the record of a work’s ownership, from its creation to the present day. Connoisseurs place great importance in provenance as a guarantee of authenticity. The name reflects Provenance Vineyards' goal of creating fine wines that are works of art.

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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.

CWL73800416_2016 Item# 514358