The 2005 Merlot was produced from 100% estate grown fruit on our 21-acre Grigsby Vineyard, located at the northwest corner of the Silverado Trail and Yountville Crossroad in the heart of Napa Valley. The vineyard soil is a light clay-loam, sprinkled with tumbled, kiwi-sized river rocks. With its proximity to the Stags Leap District, the vineyard receives cooling breezes from the San Pablo Bay on most afternoons. the vineyard is poised between the warmer up-valley climes and the cooling maritime influence of the San Francisco Bay to the south, so temperatures during the long growing season are warm enough to produce perfectly ripe and flavorful fruit and cool enough to ensure finesse and balance. Just seven rows of the Grigsby Vineyard are devoted to Merlot, so we lavish extra care on this tiny but important part of our vineyard.
Our winemaker for this vintage, Celia Welch, worked closely with our vineyard manager, Sergio Melgoza, as they both believe that the art of making great wine begins in the vineyard. When the fruit is completely ripe we carefully hand-harvest the clusters, then destem the grapes and transfer them to a tank for fermentation. The juice is fermented with the skins for about 12 days, then gently pressed and immediately pumped to French oak barrels, about 50% new, for malolactic fermentation and aging in oak. The wine was left in barrels for about sixteen months prior to bottling in early March 2007.