Sterling Napa Merlot 2005
Merlot is a benchmark varietal for Sterling and we take great pride in this wine. It was fermented in stainless steel tanks for about 9 days. Keeping the lots separate, we put the wine to barrel, some before malolactic fermentation and some after. After 12 months of aging in a combination of new and used barrels, the various lots were blended and bottled. Small amounts of the other Bordelaise varietals add a note of complexity to the finished wine. Bright ruby in color, this lovely wine offers aromas of ripe black cherries, raspberries and cedar. Luscious fruit flavors of blackberries and cherries accented by a touch of toasty oak lead to a long, silky finish. Enjoy this wine paired with grilled New York steak, roast lamb and aged cheeses. The smooth, silky tannins make it a good match for rich chocolate desserts as well.
Sterling Napa Valley wines show the depth, strength and expressive quality of California’s most famous wine region. Fruit for Sterling wines is grown throughout Napa Valley, from the cool southern Carneros region next to San Pablo Bay to the rugged northernmost bench-lands and reaches near our Calistoga homeplace. Sterling has more than five decades of winemaking excellence in Napa Valley, and winemaker Harry Hansen is able to build from that experience to select the finest lots to create the most memorable expressions of the varietal for each vintage. Key to the signature Sterling style is the contribution of fruit from our home base surrounding Calistoga, where fully ripe fruit offers soft tannins, black fruit profiles and approachability, alongside the firmer tannins evident in fruit from Diamond Mountain, offering great balance in the final assemblage and cuvée.
As Napa Valley’s third most planted grape, Napa Valley Merlot shows time and time again its potential to produce exceptional results. Napa’s vaunted combination of climate, soil and the human factor of winemaking expertise lead to big, ripe, cellar-worthy and world-class versions.
Whether made by itself in single varietal bottlings or as an important role in Bordeaux Blends, Merlot continues a prominent role in this famous region. While Cabernet typically takes the lead role, Merlot’s contribution—even at 10% to 20% or so—is significant indeed. Often described as “the flesh on Cabernet’s bones,” Merlot lends a soft, round and plush character that beautifully complements Cabernet’s linear, full-throttle structure. Its flavors of plums plus subtle herbs and mint also dovetail nicely with Cabernet’s blackberry and cassis.