2011 Meritage 3L
Unlike the majority of our wines that are single-vineyard, this wine is a blend of choice lots from several of our prime estate vineyards. We hand select barrels of Cabernet from our Central Park West Vineyard in St. Helena, our Cloud’s Nest Vineyard on Mt. Veeder and our Mario’s Vineyard surrounding the winery in St. Helena; Merlot from our Vista Montone Vineyard in Southern Napa; Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc from our Central Park West Vineyard in St. Helena; and Malbec from our Haystack Vineyard on Atlas Peak.
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 my favorite wine to make because I get to choose from all our estates to craft a wine that is layered and approachable upon release. Cabernet is the backbone, Petit Verdot adds color and aromatics, Merlot contributes to the mid-palate and the aromatics, Malbec adds a wonderful juiciness, and Cabernet Franc elongates the finish. It starts with white pepper, candied violets and blackberry flower aromas and then leads into concentrated layers of black and red fruit flavors. This is a structured wine, yet is soft and luscious and eminently drinkable upon release.” – Mario Monticelli