2012 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: 100% Merlot; Cooperage: 100% French Oak, Chateau-Style Barrels (60 gallons); Age of Barrels: 85% New, 15 second vintage
Stout Vineyard’s coveted mountain fruit has yielded a complex and beautifully structured Merlot. The aromas reveal both the sweet and the savory, with notes of Italian leather and tapenade mingling with hints of violet and vanilla bean. On the palate, lovely flavors of cassis, cranberry, eucalyptus and graphite are supported by fine dusty tannins that carry the wine to a long, firm finish.
The 2012 growing season offered near-perfect growing conditions. Though budbreak was late due to heavy spring rains, warm weather during bloom allowed the vines to set a large crop. Increased yields were the result of more berries, not larger berries. This translated into even higher quality in the winery, as the skin-to-juice ratio remained ideal. Slightly cooler-than-average post-veraison weather and a lack of any heat events allowed for greatly extended hang time. Harvest was 2-3 weeks later than average, and the grapes arrived at the winery in pristine condition.