Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 1997 Front Label
Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 1997 Front Label

Stags' Leap Winery Merlot 1997

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Winemaker Notes

Merlot was first planted at Stags' Leap in 1971 and produced its first vintage in 1977. Sensitive to both climate and soil, Merlot is not an easy grape to grow nor a wine easily made. But the grape seems to have found a good home in the Napa Valley. At Stags' Leap it is our diverse collection of soils that begins to define the differences between two blocks of Merlot plantings, both situated on the western side of the vineyard just 400 feet apart. Block 17 is in a region where layers of rock mingle with sedimentary clays from the mountain shales and river silt. In Merlot block 21, deeper surface loam overlays a composition of less clay and a greater proportion of sand and gravel. Block 21 is the first Merlot we harvest each year. The grapes have firm structure and a distinct briary character. Some four weeks later, we harvest Block 17 where aromas of plum and blackberry dominate the fruit and the mouthfeel is velvety soft.

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Stags' Leap Winery

Stags' Leap Winery

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Stags' Leap Winery, California
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A fashionable country resort in the mid-twentieth century, popular with Hollywood due to its 1892 stone Manor House and historic gardens, legends of bootleggers and gangsters, ghosts and gypsies, Stags' Leap has been home to three major family groups up through the modern revitalization of the winery that began in the 1970s.

Stags Leap Manor, as it was called in the 1920s, was known as one of the prominent country retreats in the Napa Valley at a time when resort and spa business was big. In addition to lodging and dining, amenities included lawn tennis, swimming, horseback riding, children's activities, golf, music, cards, a library, and Napa Valley wines and liquors (prior to and after Prohibition).

An intimate valley within the greater Napa Valley, Stags Leap is a place of natural beauty, storied buildings and gardens, a lively history, and a reputation for elegant wines showing finesse and intensity.

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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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CWC71880_1997 Item# 6051

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