Yates Family Vineyard
2004 Mount Veeder Merlot
Merlot •Napa Redwoods Estate
California: Napa Valley: Mt. Veeder
What We Say
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
If you love great Merlot (what true wine lover doesn’t?), you’ll flip over today’s excellent example, made from the best Mt. Veeder fruit, by our friends at Yates Family Vineyard.
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Mission Codename: Energizer
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Return to Yates in Napa Valley, secure a balanced and delicious Napa Valley Merlot for our exacting Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Yates Family Winery
Wine Subject: 2004 Mt. Veeder Merlot
Winemaker: Whitney Yates
Backgrounder: Mt. Veeder, located on the eastern slopes of the Mayacamas range has a climate that is cooler than the valley floor below. This climate and the more difficult (less fertile) volcanic mountain soil influence the flavors of the wines from this region. Best known for Merlot, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, Mt. Veeder is known for producing grapes of exceptional character and intensity.
For today’s wine, Agent Red was sent back to Yates to retrieve their legendary Napa Valley Merlot. Read his tasting notes and mission report below
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Light garnet hues with a slightly opaque core. Fast moving and fast to settle when swirled, this wine is slow to reveal its legs. After almost a minute, skinny legs emerge and then quickly streak down the edges of the glass.
Smell – Bright cherry and spiced mixed berries lead the way. These are followed by candied black cherry, red plum, mixed dried flower petals and mixed exotic dark spice.
Feel – Soft and light on entry, the quickly more lush and mouth-filling. Gradually, the wine grips the mid palate, introducing a soft dryness which spreads outward, eventually drying the cheeks and lips.
Taste – Balanced and bright with red and black fruit of pronounced cherry and tart black plum. These are joined by lush mixed berries, smoky cranberry and hints of black fig and soft black spice.
Finish – ULTRA-long and very flavorful, with bright fruit of cherry and red plum. At the end, plenty of flinty minerality makes an appearance as an easy dryness emerges, reminding you to take another luxurious sip.
Conclusion – This is a fantastic Merlot, with plenty of great flavors and a big nose, both of which had me taking lingering sniffs and sips. With great flavors and a perfect feel from beginning to end, this is a great Merlot that works beautifully on its own, and has the balance and acid profile to pair easily with a fine meal. Our friends at Yates have a real gem on their hands with this wine, and we hare happy to get some into your hands today. Just be sure to stock up!
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Whitney Yates
AGENT RED: Greetings, Whitney. We are thrilled to be showing your exquisite 2004 Mt. Veeder Merlot today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
WHITNEY: Thank you so much for showing our wines!!
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WHITNEY: Since, I am actually 4th Generation wine grape grower, I guess you can say that it was my upbringing that brought on the passion for wine.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
WHITNEY: It would have to be my dad…I have been co-winemaker with him for almost six years now and he has taught me everything I know.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
WHITNEY: We make our wines for ourselves and our customers…since in the end they will be the one drinking it
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WHITNEY: Our 2004 Merlot is a true mountain merlot with the ripe red berries and hints of coca. When my dad began our winery, he set out to make a great Merlot, this was his fifth vintage of making this Merlot and it holds up to all the past vintages.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WHITNEY: A family favorite on our kitchen table is always to pair this with lamb!
RED: In your opinion, what makes Mt. Veeder so special?
WHITNEY: Mount Veeder is an amazing place to grow grapes…we have a different climates then that of Napa Valley. We are usually above the fog line, have cooler days with the bay winds, and our soil is very complex.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WHITNEY: We are definitely busy at the winery because we will be bottling our 2008 vintage next week!!!
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
WHITNEY: Open a bottle and drink it.
RED: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
WHITNEY: Great Family, Great Friends, Great Wines!!!
RED: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Yates Family Vineyard and surrounding vineyards of Mt. Veeder can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
This mountain grown Merlot is 94% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc. It explodes with its varietal fruit flavors, not overpowering the elegant characteristics that only great wines posses. Equal to or better than the great wines from Pomerol. This wine is where California meets Bordeaux.
Tasting Notes: Gorgeous color of deep bluish/purple to the red hued rim. Off the cork the room fills with aromas of violet, blueberries and blue plum. Rich, lush and long, the texture of this wine is beguiling, as if the flavors are floating above the palette…giving a strong impression of blueberries, blue plum, hints of violet, apricot and nectarine leading to a stony, minerality long into the finish.
About The Winery:
After seven years operating as “Napa Redwoods Estate” we have decided to include our family name on our label as you will see with the new 2005 vintage labels. “Yates Family Vineyard” is owned by Michael and Lynn Yates, with the winery and vineyard staffed by their two daughters Whitney and Mary. Mary is running the administrating end of the business and Whitney is hands on in the winery and vineyard operations. Both are also actively promoting the wines in all of our markets. The Yates family has owned the property for more than 60 years.
About The Winemaker:
Mike was born in San Francisco and grew up in the Bay Area in a large, close-knit family. He graduated from Chico State University in 1977 with a B.S. in Agriculture, specializing in Trees and Vines – and a dream that one day he would be running the family vineyard & ranch. Fostering Mike’s love of the land was the summer vacations spent working in the vineyards. He is now finishing up replanting vineyards that he first planted back in his high school years.
His love for wine was ingrained in him at an early age because of his father, Alden and his grandfather Perry, and their passion for fine wines. Alden traveled the world extensively and developed his zeal for French Bordeaux wine. You can see the influence in Mike’s style of winemaking.
Becoming a farmer first and later a winemaker, he knows that all great wines come from great vineyards. Choosing the right rootstock and the correct clone for each variety has been a labor of love and his life’s enjoyment is sharing these grapes with other wineries that have that same passion.
About The Vineyard:
The Yates Family Vineyard is located on the slopes of the Mayacamas Mountains, in the Mount Veeder Appellation in an area historically known as the “Napa Redwoods.” In 1880, Nicholas Streich, a German immigrant brought his two oldest sons with him to farm the land for grapes and to make wine. They built a small, wood and stone winery in 1880, and in 1902 added on a larger stone facility. Today, the “ghost winery” remains in remarkable condition – an exceptional example of an original gravity-flow winery.
The 35 acres of steep, hillside vineyards soar to over 1,200 feet elevation. Each block or section, with its own particular sun exposure, microclimate and volcanic soils, imparts unique characteristics to the grapes. A temperate growing season ensures thorough ripening and uncommonly rich, concentrated fruit flavors. Hand-farmed terraces, small yields, and a near-perfect combination of climate, rock, and soils contribute to the exceptional quality of the grapes.
Since 1950 the Yates family has farmed the land, made wine for family and friends, and supplied local wineries with their mountain grapes. The first commercial release (1999) in May 2002 under the Napa Redwoods Estate label was very well received. It is still sought after by the cognoscenti. 1999 and 2000 produced only about 350 cases, roughly ½ varietal Merlot and ½ Alden Perry Reserve, a Cabernet Sauvignon based ‘Bordeaux blend’.
2001 brought production up and a new wine, a varietal Cabernet Sauvignon. In 2002 production was up again and a 4th wine, Cabernet Franc, introduced. With the great 2004 vintage our production was down to only 709 total cases and only 3 wines, all single varietals; Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cabernet Franc.
This vintage 2005 will prove to be one of the greatest for Napa mountain appellations. We introduced our new label Yates Family Vineyard and are back to 4 wines including; the Alden Perry reserve and our classic Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition we have created 2 entirely new wines Cheval and Fleur de Veeder.
Yates Family Vineyard shows the classic Mt. Veeder character, great aromatics of exotic floral, warm brown spice and deep stony minerality. These elements all contribute to the extremely long-lived wines from this vineyard.
Varietal: 94% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc
Appellation: Mount Veeder – Napa Valley
Aging: Aged for 18 months in 100% French Oak
Bottling Date: June 2006