Chateau St. Jean makes its home in the heart of Sonoma, a region of dramatic diversity perfect for growing a wide variety of exceptional grapes. The Dry Creek Valley is one of Sonoma's smallest applications and offered an ideal climate with long warm days and cool nights. The coastal and inland influences give this Merlot a rich and complex mouthfeel - a true example of the unique climate in Dry Creek Valley.
This Dry Creek Valley Merlot opens with fragrant aromas of bramble berry mixed mountain berries, black raspberry, black plum with hints of a savory chaparral-like lavender perfume. The nose of the wine rings true on the palate with pure fruit flavors of black raspberry, boysenberry and mulberry, plus intriguing nuances of plum galette and subtle black licorice. The wine is plush and well-balanced with tightly knit tannins and a lengthy finish. It's very reminiscent of a Minervois style of wine from the hills of Southern France.
The extended drought caused concern as the 2016 growing season began, but welcomed winter rain hinted at the relief to come. After a relatively dry January significant rainfall arrived in February, along with mild temperatures. Bud break was early, but was slowed by heavy April showers. A traditionally sized harvest followed the lighter vintage of 2015, and the extended mild season helped balance the acids and add complexity to the fruit.
Dry Creek Valley, one of the smallest AVAs in size (16 miles long by 2 miles wide) is home to over 9,000 acres of vineyards that cover the valley floor, benchland and hillsides. With a grape growing history going back 140 years, Dry Creek Valley is ideally situated for wine grapes. Bordered by Lake Sonoma in the north and the confluence of Dry Creek and the Russian River to the south, the valley is classified as a Region II climate for grape growing (similar to Bordeaux region in France). Chateau St. Jean’s Dry Creek Valley Merlot is sourced from Blocks 3B East and 6 West of the Louvau Vineyard located on the Dry Creek Valley bench. The vineyard is well-drained and has naturally restrictive soils to force the vines to focus on producing concentrated, flavorful fruit. Cabernet Sauvignon comes from the Treehouse vineyard in the Alexander Valley.
Margo Van Staaveren’s has been Winemaker for Chateau St. Jean since 2003 and has worked at the winery for over 40 harvests. She was named “Winemaker of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast magazine in 2008. During her long tenure with the winery, Margo has played a pivotal role in every facet of the winemaking process. As winemaker, she makes the final decisions involving blend and style to produce consistently high quality wines in the super premium and luxury category.
|Oak Treatment||French & American Oak (28% new) for 17 months, Cabernet Sauvignon aged exclusively in American Oak|
|Blend||89% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon|
|Case Production||437 cases|