Trefethen Merlot 2016
Delicious with duck, barbecued chicken, cherry-glazed pork tenderloin, tomato-based pastas and black olive and mushroom pizza. A dash of freshly ground black pepper over a dish creates a lovely combination.
Blend: 86% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec.
Critical AcclaimAll Vintages
At once very ripe and lively with very attractive cherries and supple tannins that neatly fill out the full body, the finish smooth and long. Drink or hold.
Thick and leathery in black fruit, this perennial classic from the region has a depth of flavor and texture that is structured and full of grace. Blended with 9% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec, it shows toasty oak, clove and integrated tannins that soften in the glass.
As one of Napa’s coolest sub-appellations, the area begs for diversity among its vineyards. Merlot and Chardonnay firmly compete with Cabernet Sauvignon for a place here. Some of Napa’s best Zinfandels also come from the Oak Knoll District.
Situated far in Napa’s southern end, Oak Knoll receives a strong cooling influence from both the San Pablo Bay and the Pacific Coast’s evening fog and breezes. Summer days are warm but on average ten degrees cooler than in St. Helena farther north up the valley; summer nights are chilly. A long growing season promotes for leisurely ripening of grape berries, resulting in an impressive balance of sugars, phenols and acidity.
Notable producers include Trefethen, one of the appellation’s oldest wineries, Robert Biale, legendary Zinfandel producer and Lewis Cellars, a family-run, hands-on establishment.
With generous fruit and supple tannins, Merlot is made in a range of styles from everyday-drinking to world-renowned and age-worthy. Merlot is the dominant variety in the wines from Bordeaux’s Right Bank regions of St. Emilion and Pomerol, where it is often blended with Cabernet Franc to spectacular result. Merlot also frequently shines on its own, particularly in California’s Napa Valley. Somm Secret—As much as Miles derided the variety in the 2004 film, Sideways, his prized 1961 Château Cheval Blanc is actually a blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc.