The 2016 vintage was yet another drought year – the fifth in a row in the Napa Valley. Though the little rain that did fall came at the right time. The vines got a healthy dose of water before and after budbreak, when they need the water for a burst of growth. The spring and early summer were warm and dry, and the days grew hotter as summer progressed. It seemed as though we would have another early harvest due to the heat of late-August and early-September. However, the days cooled enough for the grapes to mature more slowly, allowing flavor to develop and tannin to mature prior to harvesting. After pressing, the wine was moved into oak barrels where it underwent malolactic fermentation. 75% of these barrels were new barrels and the balance were once-filled barrels. 88% of their Merlot barrels were French Oak Bordeaux barrels and 12% were American Oak barrels. A touch of Malbec was added to the blend to add depth and weight to the palate. The Merlot was aged for 19 months before bottling. The mild climate and alluvial soils of the Oak Knoll District lend this wine great balance and structure. The alluvial soils bring darker fruits to the nose and palate, and give this wine its structure and concentration. The 2016 vintage has layers of aromatics ranging from black cherry, plum, and raspberry to graham cracker, vanilla, butterscotch, and sweet hickory smoke. These flavors extend to the palate, which has a rich and silky entry with bright acidity and firm structure, resulting in great tension, balance, and persistence on the finish.