The Napa Valley Merlot fruit comes primarily from the Suscol Springs Estate vineyard at the southern end of the Napa Valley. Vines struggle in rocky Hambright outcrop soils planted on steep hillsides with a southern exposure. These blocks produce grapes with distinctive, true-to-varietal flavors, bright acidity and a muscular structure that is ideal for aging. In 2015, Cakebread Cellars fermented six separate lots of Merlot in a mix of small closed and open-top stainless steel tanks, with pumpovers to fully extract color, flavor and tannin from the skins. After fermentation, the new wines were transferred to carefully selected French oak barrels, 44% new, where they aged for eight months before blending. The blended wine then spent an additional nine months in barrel prior to bottling.

91 Points
2015 vintage
Harvest Note
After abundant harvests from 2012 through 2014, the 2015 growing season experienced more weather extremities that led to a small, yet outstanding, vintage. 2015 was the earliest harvest ever in the 40+ year of Cakebread Cellars history. A warm, dry winter fostered early bud-break, though a cold spell during fruit set limited cluster sizes. A warm summer and late-season heat spikes ensured beautiful ripening.
Tasting Note
Deep, lovely aromas of ripe black cherry and blackcurrant fruit are complemented by light floral notes in the nose of this plush, supple Merlot. Rich, concentrated flavors of ripe blackberry, black plum and blackcurrant fill the lush palate, framed by fine-grained tannins, leading to a long finish showcasing bright black cherry, berry and mineral tones. Delicious now, this classic Napa Valley Merlot will gain further complexity with another 5-7 years’ bottle age.
Food Pairing
An excellent companion to pork, pheasant and veal.
Technical Data
GRAPES: 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc
APPELLATION: Napa Valley, 79% Estate Vineyards
PH: 3.47
ACIDITY: 0.68 g/100ml
ABV: 14.9%
AGING: 17 months in French oak barrels, 44% new
Unique Selling Points
  • Steep, rocky Suscol Springs vineyard provides concentrated flavors and supple tannins.
  • Matured in 44% new French oak for 17 months for greater complexity and elegance.
  • Delicious upon release. Elegance and complexity will enhance with 5-7 years aging.

About the Grape

Merlot makes plump, succulent wines to drink young or opulently massive wines for aging. Has silky, blackberry and currant fruit, with spice, earth, tobacco and chocolate notes, and soft tannins.
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