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White Oak Merlot 2000

Merlot from Napa Valley, California
  • W&S91
0% ABV
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Winemaker Notes

14 months in 40% new American Oak. Mendocino Cooperage - Bordeaux thin staved oak barrels, 36 month air-dried with medium plus toasting. Allowed to age one additional year in the bottle prior to release.

Rich, bright red fruit aromas. Cedary and spicy notes, with a rich mouth feel. Complex and elegant finish.

Critical Acclaim

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W&S 91
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White Oak

White Oak Vineyards

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White Oak Vineyards, Napa Valley, California
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The roots of a grapevine can grow to a surprising depth - 20 or even 30 feet below the soil surface. For over 30 years, White Oak Vineyards & Winery has been pushing its own roots deep into California's premier winegrowing appellations.

Born in Los Angeles, founder Bill Myers worked as a building contractor and salmon fisherman in Alaska. During the 1970's, Bill sold his boat and relocated to the bucolic town of Healdsburg, where he would purchase his first vineyard and trade fish for winemaking secrets.

With his newly purchased vineyard, a tiny tasting room and wine production facility just off the square in downtown Healdsburg, Bill started making wines under consultation of the highly respected MaryAnn Graf. He quickly became recognized for producing wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and what was to become White Oak's flagship wine: Chardonnay.

In 1991, Bill took home first Sweepstakes Award from the prestigious Sonoma County Harvest Fair for his 1990 Sonoma County Chardonnay. Shortly after, an alliance with Don Groth and Burdell Properties brought 750 acres of prime vineyards across the Napa, Russian River & Alexander Valleys to White Oak. Presently, 10% of this fruit is used to produce White Oak wines with the balance sold to other prestige wineries.

October of 1998 celebrated the Grand Opening of the new Mediterranean-style Estate nestled in the heart of the renowned Alexander Valley, accommodating a larger production facility and national office space to meet the growing demands for the wine. The 17 acre Estate is also home to 12 acres of proprietary vineyards, including exclusive lots of Old Vine Zinfandel dating back to 1928 & 1935.

Today, White Oak has refined its selection of estate and premium wines designed to reflect founder Bill Myers' original vision of great wines suited to a range of tastes - from graceful, elegant whites to rich & complex reds.

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.

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.

CGM13498_2000 Item# 57316