What We Say 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
If you are visiting us for the first time, Welcome! The Wine Spies feature one exceptional wine each day – and we only bring you wines that we ourselves seek out and love. Always, the wines are great. Sometimes greater than great, as is the case with today’s wine from Merryvale Vineyards in Napa, California.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT!:
We always feature great wines, but today’s wine is worthy of special mention. This limited-availability and ready to drink masterpiece will go quickly, so place your order soon
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Mission Codename: The Sun never sets on Merryvale
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: Recover a Gold Medal-winning Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Merryvale Vineyards
Wine Subject: 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
Winemakers: Sean Foster and Larry Cherubino
Some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in the world come from Napa Valley. One sip of today’s wine reveals why. When Agent Red was assigned today’s mission, he wasted no time. Inundated with recommendations from our Operatives in the field, Agent Red went straight to Merryvale Vineyards, where their Gold Medal-winning Cab has been creating quite a stir! Read Agent Red’s tasting notes and mission report to learn more about this fantastic Napa Cab
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Deep ruby-red with concentrated color, right out to its burgundy edges, great clarity through its almost solid heart of garnet and some of the slowest-moving legs I have seen on a wine!
Smell – Deeply fragrant with medium intensity ripe black fruit including blackberries and cherries, medium oak with violet, anise and mildest cigar box rounding out the nose
Feel – Initially smooth then quickly grippy with medium tannins, medium to full-bodied with solid flavor intensity
Taste – Richly layered flavors of black and red fruit balanced with oak, dried herbs, licorice and a mild minerality
Finish – Long, long, long, with lush and mouth-filling flavors that linger forever
Conclusion – This is an incredible Cabernet Sauvignon that is ready to drink now, but will reward the patient for years to come. If you love expressive and big Cabernet Sauvignon but don’t want your senses to be blown out by an over-the-top example, this wine is strongly recommended. Present here are beautiful aromas, rich and lucious flavors, a fantastic mouth-feel and a super long finish. These all add up to deliver a wine that is exciting to drink and a pleasure to share.
Merryvale hosts their own ‘Wine Component Tasting’ seminar every Saturday & Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. The fourth weekend of every month is Merryvale’s ‘Food & Wine Pairing’ seminar.
These events provided me with the perfect opportunity for some close surveillance of this respected winery. I wasted no time and signed up for both, which actually proved to be not only deeply informative from a Wine Spies intel-gathering perspective, but also from a wine drinker’s perspective. The two events were also great fun and the Merryvale winery is amazing!
The Wine Spies strive to have a low impact on the environment, but Merryvale takes this sort of responsibility to an extreme. Wherever possible, The Wine Spies use earth-friendly materials such as pulp wine shippers and recycled packing materials. We drive hybrid spy cars, keep office lights dimmed or turned off during the day and we recycle relentlessly. Merryvale does all of these things – and way more.
On arrival at the Merryvale Vineyards facility, the first thing that I noticed were the seemingly acres of solar panels covering the rooftop of their 60,000 foot building.
Once inside for the morning component tasting, I learned that Merryvale completed the installation of its 277kW solar electric system in 1996, before being green was chic.
The solar array generates enough clean electricity each day to power nearly 80 homes and will spare the air nearly 473 tons of harmful greenhouse gases annually. Over the next 30 years, the air pollution saved will be equivalent to driving over 32 million miles.
The winery’s solar system will provide 90-100% of the winery’s electricity needs on an annual basis for the company’s 60,000 square foot building.
Merryvale’s foremost reason for installing the array is to utilize green energy. This is an effort that we applaud and one that we are happy to be seeing at more and more wineries these days.
The component tasting and the pairing seminar were both exceptional and I recommend these for anyone looking to expand their knowledge of wine. While the winery and the classes were great, far more impressive are Merryvale’s incredible wines.
Today’s wine, in particular, is a masterpiece and a testament to their winemaking ability. Napa Cabernet Sauvignon has long had the reputation of being the best wine produced in California – and perhaps even the World. One sip of this exceptional example tells you why.
The Merryvale Vineyards winery can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
Awards & Accolades:
91 Points – Wine Enthusiast – Steve Heimoff
92 Points – Patterson’s Tasting Panel Magazine –
The core Merryvale wines are expertly-crafted Napa Valley varietals, made with obvious care and attention in both the vineyard and the winery. 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley: Velvety and lush with ripe plum, berry fruit and subtle oak and spice; lovely length, balance and style. – Anthony Dias Blue
Gold Medal – Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
Exceptional – Dan Berger’s Vintage Experiences – A black currant and blackberry aroma opens with air to show added depth from oak. Great balance; should age nicely for a few years. Supple enough to consume now with beef. – Dan Berger
About This Wine:
Our 2005 Napa Cabernet is a perfect synthesis of balance and intensity. Aromas of ripe blackberry, crème de cassis, violets and star anise leap out of the glass. The wine unfolds on your palate with mouth filling dark fruits and minerality, and the finish goes on and on.
About The Winery:
The first winery built in the Napa Valley following the repeal of Prohibition, Merryvale is located in the heart of America’s premier wine region. Graced with a European fountain and formal grounds, the historic winery is ideally located just 1/4 mile south of downtown St. Helena, Napa Valley — adjacent to renowned Tra Vigne restaurant and within easy walking distance of many other restaurants and shops.
In this celebrated home, the spirit of great winemaking thrives in the care of owner Jack W. Schlatter and his son, René Schlatter, Senior Winemakers Sean Foster and Larry Cherubino.
By maintaining the founding vision — To capture the essence of the region’s noble vineyards in rich, complex, supple wines rivaling the best in the world — Merryvale has earned international acclaim for wines of outstanding quality.
How we make wine:
Meticulous, Painstaking, Passionate Winemaking
The essence of the Napa Valley — a verdant parquet of diverse soils and microclimates that is home to some of the world’s greatest vineyards. Merryvale seeks to capture this essence with thoughtful attention to each of the thousand steps along the way to rich, complex, elegant wines.
The process begins with the careful selection of vineyards — by site, by block, even by row — to find the areas best suited to growing of the highest quality winegrapes for the specific varietal. Each aspect of the land — including microclimate, soil type, drainage, degree of slope and sun exposure – is evaluated for its contribution.
Merryvale’s grape purchase agreements include control over vineyard practices. The winemaking team carefully works hand in hand with each grower to manage all aspects of the vineyard — from pruning, irrigation, leaf thinning, hedging, shoot positioning, crop thinning, to the time of harvest.
Balanced crop levels ensure Merryvale’s grapes a greater concentration of flavors at lower sugar levels.
In red grapes, this will also facilitate the more rapid maturation of tannins, translating into rich, round wines with intense aromas and flavors, and more supple tannins.
Harvest time is determined by flavor and tannin maturity, not by sugar level alone. Careful attention is paid to all the grape and vine characteristics that indicate full fruit maturity has been reached. Skin color, absence of herbaceous flavors, color of the seeds, texture of the pulp and condition of the leaves are all important clues in determining stage of development.
Merryvale grapes are hand picked and sorted first in the field and sorted again here at the winery to remove leaves, substandard fruit and over- and under-ripe clusters. To protect the fruit from being damaged or bruised by excess weight during harvest, Merryvale grapes are placed in small half-ton boxes.
BLEND: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon
VINEYARDS: Merryvale Estate Vineyard
APPELLATION: Napa Valley
WINEMAKING: Native yeast fermentation. Bottled unfiltered
BARREL AGING: Aged 18 months in French oak (32% new)
ALCOHOL: 14.5% by volume
RELEASE DATE: February, 2008
PRODUCTION: 3,750 cases
CELLARING: Those with the patience to cellar this wine will be rewarded; we recommend decanting the wine in its youth.