2011 Duckhorn Vineyards Napa Valley Merlot Stout Vineyard
Stout Vineyard is located in the Howell Mountain appellation, one of the Napa Valley’s most sought-after, ultra-premium winegrowing regions. As a result of its topography, soils and climate, Howell Mountain has distinctly different grape-growing conditions than the valley floor. This 35-acre vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, Grenache and Syrah. The Stout Vineyard also has 300 mature olive trees that were planted at the turn of the 19th century.
Varietal Content: 78% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon; Cooperage: 100% French Oak, Chateau-Style Barrels (60 gallons); Age of Barrels: 100% New
Stout’s coveted mountain fruit has produced a complex Merlot with aromas of pomegranate, marionberry, currant jelly, pencil shavings and rose petals. The pomegranate notes continue on the palate alongside flavors of Rainier cherry, wild red berries and molasses. Though seamlessly integrated, the firm, talc-like tannins promise a long life.
In one of the coolest growing seasons in memory, we benefited greatly in 2011 from our 35 years of experience farming Bordeaux varietals. To counteract uneven vine growth due to unusual spring weather, we did meticulous green thinning. We also gently opened up the canopy to expose the fruit, were judicious in our picking schedule, and sorted meticulously both in the vineyards and winery. The majority of our Merlot came in before the October rains, and due to our quality adjustments the remainder of our fruit fared well until it was harvested. Warm up-valley locations like Oakville, Rutherford, St, Helena and Calistoga were particularly successful, and overall the resulting wines are pure and elegant.