Before turkey day makes the rounds once again a few items of business had be be done in the cellar. Per standard operating procedure all barrels are to be evaluated thoroughly before being put to rest for the holiday. In other words… I had to go taste through all of them to make sure that each one is on the right track.
Rough day on the job right?
Realistically it is always a bit nerve wracking for me. On the off chance that a barrel is heading in the wrong direction tough decisions have to be made (similar to axing a barrel from the 2011 vintage). The good news is that everything checked out! The better news is that it is doing well enough that very little will need to be done over the couple weeks until it is time to check again.
The 2012 Merlot has been aging in barrel for a just over one year. The characteristics are still fighting for attention but they are coming along slowly but surely. With the warmer growing season that 2012 provided the wine is rich; great fruit characteristics with a solid acidity as the backbone. It will be almost another year, most likely, until it is ready to be bottled.
The 2013 Merlot is working its way through its malolactic fermentation. Right now it is glorified grape juice (which is ok!). It will take quite a bit more time to mold and shape it over the coming months, but what I can say is that I am very happy with the starting point. 2013 should be another year in which it is hard to make a bad wine in Napa but it will still require an immense amount of attention to detail to get from the harvest date to the bottling date.
Have a happy Thanksgiving everyone!