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.
Our 2015 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 Merlot's aromas reveal dark, rustic black cherry, black currant and blackberry fruit notes with hints of dark chocolate, wild sage and violet. The focused entry expands on the palate into sumptuous, darker fruit flavors of blackberry and black plum alongside warmer nuances of vanilla, allspice, kola nut and black pepper, all influences from aging in French oak barrels. Supple tannins and vibrant acidity beautifully frame the flavors and carry them through on the long more bitter espresso-like finish. Only 304 cases were produced and they are available exclusively at the winery.
Although in 2015 we received three-quarters of our normal rainfall, the cumulative effect of four years of drought in Napa Valley resulted in a light crop. Fortunately, the vintage made up for the small quantity by yielding outstanding grape quality. The small clusters and dry, warm conditions promoted an early, condensed harvest that kept us hopping. At Provenance, we began the harvest picking Sauvignon Blanc on August 8 and wrapped up the vintage with Cabernet Sauvignon by October 12. The wines of 2015 are known for their highly concentrated, complex flavors.
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 the majority of the fruit from Shifflet Vineyard on the sloping benchlands of the Oak Knoll AVA. This region has a cooling influence 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, a small percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon from Missimer Vineyard in the Stags Leap District contributed additional structure and tannin.
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.
Trevor grew up in nearby Sonoma County, one of the wine hubs of Northern California. Wine was a staple at his family dinner table, and he enrolled in the Viticulture and Enology program at the University of California, Davis. After an internship at Sonoma-Cutrer in 2003 and two consecutive harvest internships making sparkling wine at Gloria Ferrer, Trevor joined Moon Mountain Vineyard, a small, well-regarded organic vineyard in Sonoma, shortly after his graduation from UC Davis. In March of 2010, Trevor joined the winemaking team at Hewitt Vineyard and Provenance Vineyards and was appointed senior winemaker in 2015.
"From a winemaking standpoint, we have access to some of the best fruit in Napa Valley, not just from our estate in Rutherford, but also from Carneros in the south all the way up to Calistoga in the north. Our job is to make sure that each wine is balanced, complex, exciting and representative of its terroir."
|Oak Treatment||22 months in French oak barrels (50% new oak)|
|Blend||96% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon|