Burgess Cellars

2008 Napa Valley Merlot

Merlot •Burgess Estate Triere Vineyard

California: Napa Valley

Offer Expired:Apr 25, 2012 at 11:59 pm
Avg. Price

What We Say


Today’s Merlot is among the very best we have sampled in recent times, easily earning it this special recognition. Today’s Merlot gets our highest recommendation.


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Mission Codename: Spring Forward

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: With Howell Mountain’s Burgess Cellars under extended surveillance, rush to procure their newest Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Burgess Cellars

Wine Subject: 2008 Estate Merlot

Winemaker: Steve Burgess

Backgrounder: Our Operatives love Burgess Cellars’ Napa Valley wines. The 2005 vintage that we featured previously became a best-seller and we have been unable to procure any of the subsequent vintages – until today, when we were given a special preview allocation of the Steve Burgess’ stellar 2008 Estate Merlot, a delicious wine that is sure to please fans of fantastic Merlot.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep ruby red, with darker see-through core. Even coloration runs from the heart of the wine all the way out to the meniscus. When swirled, tall, skinny, wine-colored tears run from high up on the glass wall, thinning as they move very slowly downward.

Smell – Sweet and fresh with young blackberry, red currant, black currant, brambly raspberry and softly toasted oak. Swirl the wine and it really springs to life, exuding additional aromas of sweet black licorice, soft leather, Bing cherry, dark minerals and cocoa.

Feel – Light-weight and soft on the attack. Then, as the wine settles onto the palate, it gains texture, weight and complexity. Moderate, integrated tannins provide structure, while bright acids support the delicious fruit.

Taste – Blackberry, black currant, black cherry and brambly raspberry take the lead. When the wine really opens up (keep swirling and witness a wonderful transformation), it reveals sweet plum, sweet black licorice, smoky cherrywood and a hint of spice.

Finish – Long and flavorful, with bright red fruit that lingers for a long time, gradually tailing off you dark berry, spice and sweetwood flavors. At the very end, a soft minerality enhances the easy dryness.

Conclusion – The 2008 Burgess Celllars Estate Merlot is a true delight to drink! This wine is a juicy, delicious, balanced Merlot and any lover of the varietal will go bonkers for it. Sweet, juicy fruit is beautifully balanced against earthy, savory aromas and flavors and the feel is initially soft – and then complex. Textured and mouthcoating, but still soft, juicy and elegant, this wine is as intriguing as it is delicious. This wine is a perfect food companion, and it provides a tasty cleanse of the palate between bites. Pair with a juicy porterhouse or a fatty prime rib. Enjoy this wine, now, or cellar for the next several years.

Mission Report:


SUBJECT: Steve Burgess

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: We are into terroir and brilliance.



AGENT WHITE: Greetings, Steve. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Napa Valley Estate Merlot today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

STEVE BURGESS: You are welcome. We always love sharing our wines with you network of spies, “terroirists,” and foodie operatives.

WHITE: Excellent! Tell me, was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

STEVE: Europe in the 1960s. I could tell you more, but, you know…

WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

STEVE: Europe in the 1960s.

WHITE: ‘Nuff said. Who do you make wine for?

STEVE: We make wine for ourselves – in a style that is LOVED by chefs, foodies, and serious-wine people.

WHITE: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.

STEVE: This is an incredible wine. It has focus, purity and is packed with flavor.

WHITE: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?

STEVE: A wine of incredible focus, purity, and packed with flavor!

WHITE: In your opinion, what makes your Napa Valley vineyards so special?

STEVE: The well-drained bench land soils, cool nights and hot days.

WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

STEVE: Fine-tuning. Lots of fine tuning…

WHITE: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?

STEVE: With an open mind, mouth, and a curiosity as to “Wow, why is this so different and great? Where have you been all my life!”

WHITE: Is there anything else you’d like to share with our readers?

STEVE: Please visit Burgess, we have the best view of the Napa Valley to enjoy while trying our estate-only wines. We are a part of Napa’s history, come see why!

WHITE: 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 Burgess Cellars can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

About This Wine:

The 2008 Merlot, like our previous vintages, demonstrates a unique intense varietal personality along with a richness associated with the vintage. The most common flavor characteristics of Merlot, blueberries and black cherries, are stunning with a hint of mint. The 2008 is 100% Merlot from our Triere Estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll District just south of Yountville. This region of Napa Valley is ideal for bringing Merlot to full maturity, with vines that are oriented north to south so that they capture both morning and afternoon sun, producing a full-bodied, rich, complex wine with a long lasting finish.

Vineyard & Winemaker Notes: The reduced crop due to frost resulted in a wine which shows the varietal aromas and flavors in a very noticeable way. The finish is extensive and has the complete effect of the French oak barrel aging. This Merlot is a serious wine to complement foods and provide a refreshing sensation on the palate.

About The Winery:

Burgess Cellars, located on the slopes of Howell Mountain in Napa Valley, focuses on creating exceptional, hand-crafted estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot & Syrah.

Burgess traces its origins to an original winery on the property in the 1880’s. Since 1972, Napa Valley pioneer Tom Burgess and his family have followed the belief that it is vital to grow only those varietals ideally suited to a particular vineyard’s soil composition, sun and wind exposure, and overall micro-climate. The French refer to this as “terroir,” and it certainly explains the consistent aromas and flavors found in the hillside Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon.

Over the years three distinct estate vineyard sites have been cultivated and nurtured to create the very best handcrafted wines. The Burgess flagship wine, Cabernet Sauvignon, thrives on the western slopes of Howell Mountain near the winery; Merlot is ideally suited to the Triere Vineyard on the Napa Valley floor in the Oak Knoll AVA just south of Yountville; Syrah is perfectly matched to conditions in the estate vineyard site on the eastern slope of Howell Mountain.

Burgess is somewhat unique in the Napa Valley today, in that it is truly a family-owned winery which has employed the same gifted winemaker, Bill Sorenson, since the winery’s re-birth in 1972.

Technical Analysis:

Vintage: 2008

Appellation: Napa Valley, California

Vineyard Locations: Burgess Estate Triere Vineyard, Yountville

Grape Variety: 100% Merlot

Alcohol: 14.4%

pH: 3.7

T.A.: 0.60

Process: 100% Malolactic Fermentation

Harvest Notes: A reduced crop because of spring frost.

Release date: January 2012

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