St. Clement Vineyards

2005 St. Clement Abbotts Vineyard Carneros Merlot

Merlot •Abbott's Vineyard

California: Napa Valley: Carneros

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Mission Codename: Righteous Foundation

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Revisit St. Clement Vineyards and secure their famed single vineyard Merlot

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: St. Clement Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2005 Abbott’s Vineyard Carneros Merlot

Winemaker: Danielle Cyrot


The Carneros region, established in 1983 was the first AVA to be designated by climate as opposed to political boundaries. Straddling both Napa and Sonoma counties, the Carneros region is heavily influenced by the cool waters of the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay. Moderately cool temperatures and summer time fog coupled with dense clay soils that inhibit root development make this region ideal for Burgundian varietals, but also for many other grapes as this luscious single vineyard Merlot.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark purple in color with a deep almost black hued slightly inky core. The concentrated color of this wine extends nearly to the rim of the glass where it lightens slightly to deep garnet. Widely spaced alternating thick and thin legs show the viscosity of this wine when swirled.

Smell – Medium intensity aromas of sweet ripe strawberry and raspberry jam followed by notes of ripe cherry. Underneath the jammy fruit, layers baking spices, sweet wood, a touch of toasted vanilla and floral violet complete the pleasant nose.

Feel – Full-bodied and dry, smooth and rich with medium tannins, easy acidity and a good, almost creamy texture follows through to the the finish.

Taste -Ripe jammy fruit of strawberry, raspberry and other red fruit that are nicely integrated with a touch of toasted oak that reveals itself with a vanilla cream quality. As you explore this wine, you will also notice hints of dark chocolate, wild fennel and baking spices.

Finish – The finish of this wine is medium in length that lingers with ripe and rich fruit, spice and a texture that invites big sips (or in our case gulps).

Conclusion – Ripe and jammy, plush with rich ripe fruit, baking spice and a creamy vanilla toast, this wine is definitely a crowd pleaser. Easy to drink and friendly to just about anything you want to pair it with, this Merlot can be your ‘go-to’ wine when you just want to enjoy a glass, and enjoy it we did, down to the last drop in the bottle!

Mission Report:

The following is an extract from our first-encounter mission report, in which Agent White first becomes acquainted with our now-good friends at St. Clement:

It was perhaps the strangest of locations to start a wine mission. I entered the church and as the instructions indicated, I was to go to the second pew and show penance. As I knelt, in the pew, I noticed a book with a bookmark in it. Looking more closely, it was a history of the Papacy and the page that was bookmarked was about Pope Clement I (Clemens Romanus), who is also known as St. Clement. No being sure if this was the clue, I stayed for another hour and beyond the woman practicing on the organ, nobody came or went from the church.

Back at HQ, I entered in our research computer the search term ‘Clement’ and found that indeed, the bookmark was a clue. All signs pointed in the direction of St. Clement Vineyards in Napa Valley. We had an asset who could get us some additional intel so I PIN messaged Agent Malbec and within a few hours a courier had delivered a bottle of the St. Clement to our front company.

The bottle was immediately taken to the lab for analysis. The results were clear; It was an almost perfect wine, with fruit from one of the best vineyards in Napa. St. Clement had been on our radar for a couple months. Their winemaker Danielle Cyrot, with a long lineage of European winemakers was making quite a name for herself.

But as we always say, the proof is in the juice… Lab results, research, walks through the vineyards are all nice, but its in the glass that matters… Well, there’s no knelling for St. Clement wines. After tasting it, we were jumping for joy.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of St. Clement Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

What the Winery Says

St. Clement Vineyards, Member, Napa Valley Vintners

Awards and Accolades:

Voted Best Boutique Winery Two Years In A Row By Napa and Sonoma Valleys magazine.

Voted Best Local Winemaker – Winemaker Danielle Cyrot -

About This Wine:

In the nose there are aromas of vanilla, clove, cranberry, cherry, raspberry jam, and toasty oak. In the mouth there are some anise, black currant, bramble, and vanilla custard notes. It is full bodied with significant structure and tannin to it. The wine finished with some raspberry jam, smoke, toasted marshmallow, and dried cranberry notes. The wine was barrel aged in 65% new French oak for 19 months.

About The Winery:

The philosophical approach to winemaking at St Clement is all about the land of Napa Valley. Much has been written about the idyllic nature and diversity of this 50-mile long valley. It is this diversity that forms the foundation for our approach to winemaking.

As an artist holds many colors on the palette to create subtle hues, we hold a collection of vineyards from the north in Calistoga to the south in Carneros and from the alluvial benches of the valley floor at Rutherford to the cloud clinging heights of Mt Veeder.

We take the fruit from this collection of small, independent growers to balance, blend and build our wines into totalities that mirror the complexity and beauty of the Napa valley itself.

About The Winemaker:

Danielle Cyrot – Winemaker, St. Clement Vineyards – As the third decade of her life begins, Danielle Cyrot brings a broad scope of international winemaking expertise that extends well beyond her age. And as the descendant of French vignerons whose history goes back for centuries, she is also renewing an enological tradition that had been dormant for three generations.

Technical Analysis:

Varietal Content: 100% Merlot

Appellation: Carneros

Harvest Dates: October 14, 2005

Bottling Completed: September 4, 2007

Case Production: 359 cases

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