Freemark Abbey Winery
2011 Napa Valley Merlot
California: Napa Valley
We love Merlot here at The Wine Spies. Many times when we’re looking for a perfect wine to pair with a big meal, Merlot is our go-to. Well, we just might have found a new favorite in today’s Freemark Abbey Winery 2011 Napa Valley Merlot.
Incredibly lush and juicy, today’s wine has layer upon layer of ripe fruit, subtle spice, and toasty earth. These notes are perfectly paired with a seared flank steak, with the crunchy blackened crust meeting their match in the richness of today’s wine.
It really doesn’t get any better than today’s 90 Point gem, crafted from some of the finest vineyards in all of Napa. Please enjoy our boldest recommendation for today’s stunning wine.
A beautiful dark cherry red, reminiscent of a homemade cherry pie.
Rich and juicy, with ripe blackberries, dark cherries, and currants laid overtop sandalwood, fresh summer forest floor, cinnamon, black peppercorn, and a dusting of cocoa powder.
Flavors that more than fulfill on the promise of the nose, with juicy ripe berries, Santa Rosa plum, and black cherry cascading across your palate. These notes are quickly trailed by touches of summer bramble, cinnamon, dried blueberry, vanilla bean, and baker’s chocolate.
A smooth and supple wine that begs to be slowly sipped and enjoyed. The finish has a lovely complexity, with a vibrant acidity and smooth texture.
Flank steak, marinated with bourbon and brown sugar, then grilled to crispy perfection.
What the Winery Says
Ruby colored, the Merlot expresses bright fruit with forward spicy sweet oak. There are layers of flavor composed of blackberry, dark cherry, raspberry, dark plum, milk chocolate and spices such as cinnamon and vanilla. Coupled with the bright fruit, there is a hint of arugula adding to the complexity. The entry and finish are very smooth with integrated fruit resembling black cherry and Santa Rosa plum. The velvety texture coupled with the richness of flavor provides a profile that delivers from initial sip, one that continues on the palate for a very long time.
90 Point Review - Wine Enthusiast Grill up or pan sear a steak, put some brown butter sauce on it, and enjoy with this luscious Merlot. The wine, which is blended with other Bordeaux varieties, is rich in blackberries, cherries, currants and oak, while the low alcohol, only 13.5% by volume, reaffirms its Merlot delicacy.
Winemaker Notes The above average rainfall for the winter and spring left the precipitation totals more than a third above normal by the end of June. The cooler, wet spring delayed bloom and disrupted fruit set, resulting in shatter in parts of the region. The cooler-than-average growing season continued throughout summer resulting in a later-than-average harvest. The delayed maturity of the fruit, coupled with a few early autumn rain storms, made for a very challenging harvest season. With experience, we were able to overcome these obstacles, producing really fine wines expressing the aromas and flavors preserved by a cooler than average growing season
- Ted Edwards
- 90 Points - Wine Enthusiast
- Napa Valley
- Fruit Variety
- 82.3% Merlot, 9.4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot, 1.3% Cabernet Franc
- Vineyard Sources
- 25.7% Red Barn Ranch - Rutherford, 22.2% Lower Cardinale Vineyard - Oakville, 8.8% Keyes - Howell Mountain, 8.7% Coombsville - East Napa City
- 14 months in French and American oak, 25% new
About the Winery
Freemark Abbey, one of the oldest in Napa Valley, was founded in 1898. A more than a century-old winery. A wine library that’s the envy of the Valley. A history like no other, including a spot center-stage at the legendary 1976 Judgment of Paris.
It’s one thing to be a Napa winery.
It’s quite another to be a Napa legend.
Winemaker Ted Edwards
Freemark Abbey has been fortunate to have Ted Edwards, Napa’s longest tenured winemaker, as winemaker since 1985. His creative approach combined with the sheer length of experience with the vineyards of Napa Valley – the Rutherford Bench in particular – makes him one of the region’s leading winemakers, most notably for his Cabernet Sauvignon.
Ted attended the University of California at Davis where he earned his Bachelor of Science degree in Biochemistry and then a Masters in Food, Science and Engineering. In 1980, Ted began his winemaking career in the cellar at Freemark Abbey, but after two harvests, took a position at Rutherford Hill as associate winemaker, a post he held for three years.
In 1985 he returned to Freemark Abbey Winery, in the capacity of winemaker, where he has been managing the grape growing and winemaking ever since. In 1992, the pioneering partnership of Freemark Abbey named Edwards as the new, eighth partner. It was in 1996 that the original founder and Managing Partner of Freemark Abbey winery, Chuck Carpy, passed away, and Ted took over his former boss and dear friend’s duties.
Edwards’ winemaking accomplishments include establishing the style of the single-vineyard Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, introducing a Merlot to the Freemark Abbey product line, as well as a Viognier, and bringing Petite Sirah back to the property.
While most noted for making claret style wines, he has captured the essence of Chardonnay each year and, in the right years, made the Beerenauslese style Riesling called Edelwein Gold. He has continued the thirty plus-year legacy of the vineyard-designated Freemark Abbey Cabernet Bosché, while raising the wine to new heights of critical acclaim.