2011 Vista Montone Vineyard, Daybreak Block, Merlot
October 20, 2011
20 months, 100% French oak (60% new)
Southern Napa, like its neighbor, Carneros, is open to the cooling influence of the San Pablo Bay, so grapes grown here ripen slowly, developing concentrated flavors. Our Vista Montone vineyard is home to a special block that faces the rising sun, aptly named Daybreak. The vineyard’s cool microclimate and chalky soil is ideal for producing deep, complex Merlot.
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 is our most southern vineyard in Napa Valley and is not very vigorous due to the cool microclimate. Bud break happens early, but then we don’t end up picking until mid-October. However, despite this cool microclimate, this is not a timid wine. I often refer to it as the ‘Merlot for Cabernet drinkers’ because of its structure and new-world style. It has layered aromas of cassis, dried bing cherries, dried plums, vanilla and baking spices, leading into luscious and concentrated red and black fruit flavors with subtle hints of brown sugar, smoke and sarsaparilla.” - Mario Monticelli