2012 Red Hen Ranch Napa Valley Merlot
Gold Medal: 2014 Denver Int'l Wine Competition; 93 Pts, Gold Medal: Critics Challenge; A dense, Napa Valley single-vineyard beauty.
Opens with aromas of plum and blueberry fruit, spice, mocha, and crushed rock notes. On the palate, dark blue fruit is wrapped around a tightly wound core of dusty tannins. Fruit, earth and minerality are seamlessly meshed, leading to a long and sustained finish that only begins to hint at what’s yet to come. This is a densely packed and substantial wine that needs a good hour in a decanter, and would definitely benefit from a few years in the cellar. Fantastic with grilled steak.
Style: Medium, Smooth
Flavors: Blackberry, Blueberry, Tannins
Oak Knoll is one of Napa’s best places to grow Merlot – it sits atop the valley’s largest alluvial fan formed by Dry Creek (different from the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma), and is basically 10-20 feet of cobblestones covered by a bit of loamy soil, with late afternoon breezes keeping temperatures slightly cooler than the upper valley. The resulting Merlot berries are small and concentrated, with the resulting wines displaying a Cabernet-like structure. Fruit from Red Hen Ranch goes into some very high end Napa Merlot, Cabernet, and Meritage programs ($75+).