This special bottling comes from two exceptional Napa Valley vineyards: the Las Amigas Vineyard in the Los Carneros AVA and a vineyard located on the sloping benchlands of the Oak Knoll AVA. The influence of cool breezes from the San Francisco Bay fosters rich, yet bright, Merlot flavors. Cold soaking the destemmed grapes accentuated the wine's fruitiness, while barrel aging married oak spices with Merlot's dark berry flavors. The blend is made from a selection of fourteen barrels of Merlot that showed especially distinctive 'sense of place' flavors and plush texture.
"This has lots of character with tobacco, black olive and dark fruits. Full body, juicy and chewy. Structured and rich. Need at least two or three years to come together. Yes it is merlot. Try in 2020." - James Suckling, December 2017
Our 2014 Barrel Select Merlot was chosen from our finest barrels of the vintage---ones that showed extraordinary sense of place, as well as exceptional texture and balance. This wine's terroir expression comes from three Napa Valley vineyards located in the Oak Knoll, Los Carneros and Calistoga appellations. This Merlot's aromas reveal deep, black cherry and blackberry character with hints of dark chocolate, bergamot, wild sage and violet. The focused entry expands into sumptuous, dark-fruit flavors with warm nuances of vanilla and baking spice from aging in French oak barrels. Supple tannins and vibrant acidity beautifully frame the flavors and carry them through the long finish.
Dry, early and shaking is how 2014 will be remembered in Napa Valley, yet it had a silver lining with small, concentrated berries and high quality. February's rains brought the total rainfall up to low, but adequate, helping to relieve three years of drought conditions. Warm temperatures promoted early budbreak in spring and accelerated grape maturation. Just as harvest began, a dramatic 6.0 earthquake shook Napa Valley awake on August 24; Provenance was fortunate to come through unscathed. We finished the very compact, plentiful harvest by mid-October and celebrated the vintage's ripened-to-perfection grapes.
Our winemakers tasted every single barrel to select ones that capture the distinctive array of flavors and plush mouthfeel that Merlot develops in the cooler, southern regions of Napa Valley. They selected 85 percent of the wine from Shifflet Vineyard on the sloping benchlands of the Oak Knoll AVA and 12 percent from Las Amigas Vineyard in the Los Carneros AVA. Both of these regions have cooling influences from the San Francisco Bay and well-drained soils, which slow the ripening of Merlot for full flavor maturity and supple tannins. To enhance the wine's structure, they blended in three percent Cabernet Franc from Tamagni Vineyard in the Calistoga AVA, which is located at the northern end of Napa Valley.
We hand-harvested the Merlot clusters into half-ton bins to minimize crushing and then quickly brought them to our winery. We then destemmed the grapes maintaining approximately 60 percent whole berries to maximize fruitiness during fermentation. For gentle extraction of varietal character, we cold soaked the must for two days before the two-week fermentation. Aging in 50 percent new French oak barrels wove vanilla and toasty oak nuances through the lush, silky flavors.
Before starting at Provenance, Chris traveled the world to work harvests in many areas including Germany and Australia and returned to school to earn his Masters degree from the University of California, Davis, in 2002.
"Winemaking is about expressing the character of the place. Each vineyard has it own distinct personality. During the winemaking process we try to highlight and polish the best attributes while smoothing out any rough edges. Whether we blend fruit from different vineyards or emphasize a single vineyard block, our goal is to get all the grapes to play nice with each other. When we're successful the final wine is a harmonious expression of origin--whether that origin is a single vineyard, multiple vineyards, and appellation or a sub appellation."
|Oak Treatment||22 months in French oak barrels (50% new oak)|
|Blend||97% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc|