2007 Napa Valley Merlot
Merlot •Newton Vineyard
California: Napa Valley
What We Say
LIBRARY RAID – EXCLUSIVE WINE ALERT:
The Wine Spies have raided the library of Alpha Omega Winery – and have gotten our hands on the final remaining supply of their stellar Merlot. You won’t get another opportunity to purchase this wine, so act fast – before we run out.
SUPERIOR WINE ALERT:
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Mission Codename: The Revelation of Rutherford
Operative: Agent Red
Objective: After a protracted surveillance, send Agent Red to infiltrate Alpha Omega Winery and secure an exclusive AO wine for our Operatives
Mission Status: Accomplished!
Current Winery: Alpha Omega
Wine Subject: 2007 Merlot Napa Valley
Winemaker: Jean Hoefliger and Michel Rolland
Backgrounder: To true wine lovers, Merlot is one of the finest wine varietals in the world. Today, Merlot continues to sell in record numbers across the US, outpacing all other varietals. Merlot is sincere, food-fabulous wine for serious wine drinkers. If you think that Merlot is not for you, forget everything that you think you know about Merlot and embrace this stellar example.
Wine Spies Tasting Profile:
Look – Black-purple with a deep and inky heart of nearly perfect black. At the edges, the wine lightens slightly, showing beautiful red-purple hues. The wine has a spring surface and leaves thin tears along the inside edges of the glass when swirled
Smell – Layered and lush, with black plum, strawberry leaf, and black cherry. These intermingle with star anise, herbs de Provence, lavender and black pepper
Feel – Softly dry on initial entry, this wine shows fine-grained tannins and introduces an intriguing dryness that shows on the cheeks and lips – leaving the tongue moist as the wine coats the mouth
Taste -Raspberry, blackberry and cranberry are the fruits that lead the way to earthen kola nut, earl grey tea, dark roast espresso, blackberry compote and subtle nutty baking spices
Finish -Dark, smoky and exceedingly long, with dark fruits, balanced acidity and subtle fine cloves
Conclusion – This is an extraordinary Merlot! Beautifully balanced and ultra-delicious, with an amazing array of authentic flavors and aromas. Our tasting panel agreed that this was one of the best Merlot we have sampled in a long time. Rich, lush and complex, this wine is a great delight to enjoy on its own – but also plays beautifully with great food. If you love great Merlot, this wine gets our hearty recommendation.
WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER
SUBJECT: Jean Hoefliger
WINE EDUCATION: Winemaking and viticulture degree at the Swiss federal school of Changins
CALIFORNIA WINE JOB BRIEF: Jean Hoefliger was born and raised in Switzerland. His initial experience took him from Switzerland to Bordeaux, and South Africa, making wine at the esteemed estates of Chateau Lynch-Bages, Chateau Carbonnieux, and Meerlust. Completing a winemaking and viticulture degree at the Swiss federal school of Changins, Jean came to California where he spent five years as winemaker for Newton Vineyard before joining Alpha Omega. Jean’s passion, knowledge, innate ability and scientific training puts him in a unique position to take the best grapes of Napa Valley and transform them into wines worthy of world class standing.
WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Naturally Fermented, Unfined and Unfiltered Wines
WINEMAKER QUOTE: If an art creates an emotion, the artist has touched its public.
FIRST COMMERCIAL WINE RELEASE: 7/1/2006
AGENT RED: Greetings, Jean. We are thrilled to be showing your Merlot 2007 today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.
WINEMAKER: Thank you for choosing to work with Alpha Omega. We are excited to give the Wine Spies access to our Merlot 2007.
RED: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?
WINEMAKER: Yes. When milk was replaced by wine in my bottle.
RED: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?
WINEMAKER: Petrus 1982 because it is the pure expression of the greatness of Merlot and one of its most famous terroir that shows the perfect elegance but strength of this outstanding varietal.
RED: Who do you make wine for?
WINEMAKER: First and foremost, myself because I do not think that you excel at anything that you do not believe in, but of course the consumer is a key factor of the equation.
RED: Please tell me a little bit about the wine we are featuring today.
WINEMAKER: Merlot is for me a very feminine varietal that has elegance, finesse, curves and personality, but it is very hard to master because it is very subtle and fragile. The 2007 vintage was very concentrated which allowed me to reach a balance that can be summarized as a marriage because the balance of a feminine merlot and a masculine vintage was reached in great proportion. We added a hint of Petit Verdot to structure the personality of the wine and to give it a back-bone to hold the beauty.
RED: What is your favorite pairing with today’s wine?
WINEMAKER: A beef fillet with olive oil and sea salt.
RED: In your opinion, what makes Spring Mountain so special?
WINEMAKER: Merlot strives on Spring Mountain because the cooler nights allow the aromas to ripen along with the sugars which is often not the case. Merlot is much more sensitive to heat and therefore, this slow ripening process becomes essential for its balance and elegance.
RED: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?
WINEMAKER: The priority of any winemaker is always the quality of the wine. Since I believe that 90% of wine is made in the vineyards and we are in the pruning season I am spending quite some time checking all of our vineyards to ensure the best practices.
RED: How would you recommend people approach your wines and wine in general?
WINEMAKER: Think about wine as an art form that creates emotion. Good or bad, it is taste. When I taste a wine it tells me a story, transports my emotions and therefore, to me it is pure intimacy. This is an intimacy that is strictly personal and cannot be wrong.
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 Newton Vineyard, where the grapes for today’s amazing wine were born, can be seen in this satellite photo.
What the Winery Says
About This Wine:
Color: black cherry with touches of ruby and ripe strawberries on the rim
On the nose: explosion of spices of rosemary and thyme with wild blueberry, marzipan, chocolate and raspberry, with touches of ginger bread and lavender
On the palate: very fresh entrance evolving on a great duo of soft tannins and acidity with hints of raspberry and cranberry, lingering on freshly cut violet, dark cherry and fresh plumb finish
CLIMATE: Early bud-break and a mild, nearly perfect summer resulted in an early start to 2007 harvest. A heat spike in September pushed sugars high and hurried wineries to harvest their grapes. The weather then turned cool and harvest slowed down to give us great complexity. Rain hit the north coast in late September and early October which caused many winemakers to get the remaining fruit picked as soon as possible, but we held back. We decided to let the fruit hang. It was a large risk, but it paid off because the rain was followed by 3 weeks of great weather which yielded some amazing flavors and balance because of the small berry size and ripe fruit.
WINEMAKING CONSEQUENCES: If you were strong enough to wait for perfect ripeness, 2007 was a great vintage. The small berry size allowed for highly concentrated wines, and we were able to extract more aromas to make a bigger style wine. This Merlot has power, structure and strength, but the true finesse of the varietal still shines through.
About The Winery:
Alpha Omega is located in legendary Rutherford in the heart of Napa Valley and is one of Napa’s newest boutique wineries. Surrounded by vineyards and mountains, the beauty of this rustic, farm-style winery is as captivating as its wine.
Alpha Omega’s extraordinary winemakers, along with historic vineyards, combine to create wines that express the essence of this famous wine region. Talented young winemaker Jean Hoefliger has teamed up with one of the world’s finest palates, Michel Rolland, to create wines that express their passion for excellence as well as the unique terroir that is Napa Valley. By sourcing prized grapes from the many appellations of Napa Valley, our winemakers blend the essence of exceptional terroir ranging from valley floor, hillside, mountain and coast. Using natural techniques, they handcraft finesse-driven, complex and balanced wines which express the aromatic profile of the best Napa Valley has to offer.
Hoefliger and Rolland’s combined award-winning winemaking techniques create elegant, approachable and perfectly balanced wines of the highest quality through blending the best of Old World and New World wine styles. A gifted young winemaker and a master winemaker are discovering together the excitement of creating world-class wine from world-class grapes in world-class terroir for Alpha Omega.
Varietals: 85% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot
Vineyard: Newton Vineyard
Oak: 24 months in oak, 80% new French Oak and the rest in 1 to 2 year old French Oak barrels.
Barrel Fermentation: 20%
Aging Potential: 12 to 15 years
Production: 360 Cases