2011 Chicken Ranch Vineyard, Merlot
October 24-31, 2011
20 months, 100% French oak (50% new)
Ideally situated on the northern border of the Rutherford appellation, our Chicken Ranch Vineyard yields distinctive Merlot with elegant bright fruit, minerality and dried herbs. Here, the grapes enjoy a constant, warm valley floor climate and a unique soil composition that imbue the grapes with the prized hallmark of “Rutherford Dust”.
The 2011 growing season began with a wet, cool spring. Rainfall lasted into the middle of June affecting bloom and diminishing yields in many vineyards. The cool weather trend continued all summer delaying ripening throughout Napa Valley. Since we are estate, we diligently monitor all our vineyards, adjusting our viticultural practices frequently. It was necessary to significantly open up the vine canopies to ensure adequate sun exposure, air circulation and ripening. Overall flavors in the grapes were achieved at lower sugar levels making lower alcohol wines that exhibit finesse and balance.
“This Merlot is more rustic and old-world in style than our other wines. A pretty wine, it showcases bright raspberry, pomegranate and cranberry aromas with hints of Chinese five spice. Good acidity and integrated oak lead into a luscious midpalate with a pleasant tart undertone. This is an elegant, approachable and very food-friendly wine”. – Mario Monticelli