Abundant dark fruit greets the nose with a touch of leather and pencil lead in this classic example of Napa Valley Cab. Pure, plummy richness defines the full-bodied palate, framed in soft tannins and a velvety texture offset by lively acidity. Delicious and drinkable now, but with another decade in store, this shows incredible value for the price.
The first post-Prohibition winery built in the Napa Valley, Merryvale has a colorful history. It began life as Sunny Saint Helena Winery in 1933, and by 1937, Cesare Mondavi was a partner. It was here that his sons, Peter and Robert Mondavi, both learned how to make wine. Sunny Saint Helena was mostly a co-op, bulk producer, and storage facility over the years, and in 1988 it was revived as a luxury producer by Bill Harlan and several partners. By 1991 the winery was renamed Merryvale, and the Schlatter family of Switzerland became partners. Today our friend René Schlatter, who has lived and worked in the US for over 30 years, is the owner and CEO. Merryvale is important to us because the expert winemaking team of Simon Faury and Michael Costley are relentless in their pursuit of pure, sustainably farmed, expressive wines. Faury has worked extensively in France and Italy, as well as Napa Valley icons like Robert Mondavi and Harlan Estate. Grapes are picked by hand and fermented in many small batches, which give Foster and Faury total control over quality in the final blends.
This well-made wine offers an experience of supple, smooth and hearty dark fruit, with a moderate amount of toasted oak. Blended with 13% Merlot, 6% Malbec and 4% Cabernet Franc, it is earthy and robust in sage, dried herb and violet.
Moving to the reds, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic wine from this estate that gives up hints of spicy oak as well as cassis fruits, medium to full body, outstanding purity of fruit, and a great finish. It’s another impeccably balanced wine from this estate.