Sterling Reserve Merlot 1998
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.
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.