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2008 Tucker Merlot

2008 Tucker Merlot, Carneros Appellation

The 2008 growing season was a crazy one for Napa Valley and Carneros vintners. Sustained early frost threatened bud-break and worried us all. With premature flowering an earlier than normal harvest was anticipated. This worked in our favor with lighter than normal yields exhibiting small tight berries with high intensity and deep concentration. The grapes hung through a series of late September showers, and were rewarded with warm temperatures to help the fruit reach optimum flavor and intensity.

Harvest occurred between September 13 and October 16 which was followed by a gentle whole berry destemming and a five day cold soak. This helps to extract the fresh fruit flavors and build complexion. Some lots were fermented on their native yeast, while others were inoculated with selected varieties. After primary fermentation the grapes went through an extended maceration to extract color, intensity and integrate the tannins. This Merlot was then gently pressed off the skins and transferring to 100% French oak barrels (35% new) of varying forests and toast levels. The selected lots were then carefully blended together, with a small amount of Cabernet Franc, to intensify aromas and build complexity. This "Right Bank" Bordeaux styled Merlot spent a total of 21 months in casks and was bottled in the summer of 2010.

The result is a Merlot which exhibits classic aromas and flavors of black cherry, blackberry, ripe plum and spice, along with cocoa and some earthiness. This wine has beautiful balance and complexity with bright fruit acidity and well integrated sweet tannins. This wine is wonderful to drink now but will cellar gracefully for many years to come.

Merlot: Carneros "Moon Vineyard" 95%
Cab Franc: Atlas Peak "Stagecoach" 5%
Harvest: September 13-October16, 2008
Brix at Harvest: 24.5- 26.7
Alcohol 13.8%
pH 3.68
TA 6.91 g/L