What We Say 2007 Napa Valley Estate Merlot
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Mission Codename: I Heart Rutherford
Operative: Agent White
Objective: Return to Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards, secure the next vintage of their their special Merlot.
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2007 Napa Valley Estate Merlot
Winemaker: Andy Pestoni
Backgrounder: Merlot, one of the primary grape varietals from Bordeaux finds an exceptional home in the Napa Valley. The Rutherford AVA is among the most famous of names in the valley and is primarily know for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon and the other big Bordeaux varietals. Ironically, Rutherford was the last of the major districts to receive AVA status and is home to about 30 wineries. Its well drained soil made of a combination of marine sediment and volcanic gravel, sand and loam is distinct and contributes to its famed ‘Rutherford Dust’ component found its its great wines.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby red and brilliantly clear in its darker core. Streaks of bright ruby shine through this wine when held to the light and along the edges. When swirled, slow and random clusters of fat legs descend to the wine below at varying speeds.
Smell – Spicy white pepper flourishes above dark and sweet red and black fruit including black cherry and blackberry along with a subtle touch of licorice, soft toasted and smokey oak, dusty and earthy minerality, some dark cocoa powder and perfumed floral notes.
Feel – Smooth upon entry than at mid-palate the lively acidity adds a tangy character to this dry and full-bodied wine. Smooth and finely textured tannins and spice along with a touch of etched minerality frames the sweet and ripe fruit as this wine glides over the tongue
Taste – Ripe and sweet dark black cherry, blackberry and other ripe berries meld with the toasted and smokey oak from the nose. Added complexity of dark cocoa, white pepper spice along with earthy and floral notes.
Finish – Long and clean with the ripe sweet fruit lasting long as well structured texture also lingers. The supporting flavors slowing fading leaving behind a soft, but mouth drying feeling that invites another sip.
Conclusion – The 2007 Napa Valley Estate Merlot is a delicious wine with plenty of varietal character and a relatively sturdy structure compared to some of the other Merlot we’ve tasted thus far this year. Very inviting on the nose with ripe and sweet black fruit that transitions seamlessly onto the palate. Enough acidity and structure to make this wine good with food as well. Enjoy this wine now or cellar for up to five years and pair with everything from grilled burgers to pasta Bolognese.
AGENT RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
ANDY PESTONI: Our 2007 Rutherford Merlot is 100% Merlot from right out in front of our winery on Hwy 29 in Rutherford. It is nestled in right next to the Sangiovese vineyard.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
ANDY: A pork tenderloin roast with rosemary pairs well with our 2007 Merlot with a apple and blue cheese salad on the side. We also love Merlot with Chocolate – we even have it made into a rich fudge for our tasting room.
RED: In your opinion, what makes the Rutherford Grove region so special?
ANDY: This fruit comes from the historic growing area of Rutherford that is known for its famous dusty characteristic and we have great success farming our Rutherford vineyards. This Merlot came from the vineyard literally our front yard we are able to maintain a close eye on it year round to produce the best possible grapes.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
ANDY: Harvest!!! We finished bottling some of our red wines at the beginning of September and have been busy bringing in grapes ever since. Just yesterday we brought in eight and a half tons of Petite Sirah from our St. Helena Spring Creek Vineyard. Our Rutherford Merlot grapes are next to come in, though the vineyard is a little muddy right now after the first Fall rain.
Wine Spies Vineyard Check:
The location of the Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
Wine & Spirits Magazine – “Clean and soft, this wine balances sweet fruit and black tannin. There’s an airy feel to its flavors, rising above the palate rather than weighing heavily on it. For grilled sirloin.”
About This Wine:
We are proud to release this 100% Estate Merlot sourced exclusively from our Estate vineyard located east of our winery and tasting room in the heart of the Rutherford Appellation.
This Merlot features great opening aromas of white pepper and blackberry. Well balanced tannins, leading to soft and lingering finish.
About The Winery:
Nestled in the heart of the Napa Valley, Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards invites you to enjoy our wines, stroll through our gardens, or stay for an afternoon picnic. Conveniently located on Highway 29, we welcome visitors daily from 10am to 4:30pm. Prior appointment for tasting is not required for groups fewer than 8.
About The Winemaker:
Andy Pestoni is the fourth generation of his family to live and work in the Napa Valley. Born and raised in St. Helena, today he directs the winemaking for Rutherford Grove Winery’s Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Sangiovese and Sauvignon Blanc. The winery’s total production is 10,000 cases a year and the wines are estate-grown from 50 acres of vineyards in the Rutherford and Howell Mountain appellations. The family came to the Napa Valley in the late 1880’s from the Ticino region of Switzerland, from the town of Monte Carasso.
“Even though I have winemakers in my family history, I didn’t think I’d grow up to be a winemaker,” Andy smiles. He caught the ‘wine bug’ working harvests at Beaulieu Vineyard while attending college. He went on to work in the cellar at Ferrari-Carrano in Sonoma County for several years. While he was at Ferrari-Carrano his father and uncle bought a winery formerly known as Rutherford Vintners, in the town of Rutherford, and asked Andy to ‘come home’ and help them launch it as a new family winery. Ray Corison joined the team for the first few years as a winemaking consultant, as did Bob Pepi; from the 1996 vintage on, though, Andy has directed all winemaking operations.
Varietals: 100% Merlot
Barrel Aging: 18 months 90% French oak, 10% American oak, 20% new, 60% 1-year old, 20% 2-year old
Winemaker: Andy Pestoni