The term Meritage is defined as “An American expression of excellence for wines blended in the Bordeaux tradition.” Various sub-appellations throughout the Napa Valley have contributed to this blend, including St. Helena, hot and dry, and Rutherford, slightly closer to the San Pablo Bay with light warm breezes throughout the summer growing season. These up-valley vineyards with their intense, long, hot, dry summers produce tiny, thick-skinned berries that result in concentrated flavors.
The end of 2010 was wet, as was the spring of 2011, continuing with rainfall into mid-June; this delayed bloom. With the addition of a somewhat cooler than normal summer, harvest was delayed until late August. What started out as a challenging vintage resulted in lower sugar levels with deep rich fruit.
With Merlot composing 60% of the blend, aromas of black cherry, plum and chocolate are most apparent. The Cabernet Franc brings forth red berry and blue berry with hints of earthiness. The Cabernet Sauvignon rounds out this rich full-bodied wine with notes of spice and currant. Extended barrel aging, in excess of three years, gives the wine a weighty yet supple mouth-feel and allows for a complete integration of flavors. From the initial sip of the up-front fruit to the long finish, this wine is a delicious mouthful.
Protein: beef, lamb, fish, poultry or tofu, seasoned with plenty of salt and garlic, pan seared in Extra Virgin Olive Oil, will showcase the big bold fruit in this blend. A cheese course of Blue, Parmesan and Asiago will melt on your palate and soften the tannins to allow the magnificent fruit to be present from the first sip to the long finish.