Winemaker, Charlie Wagner, was not only lucky enough to grow up in the Rutherford district of Napa Valley, he was also fortunate enough to have parents like Chuck and Lorna Wagner. They owned a prime vineyard in Rutherford selling grapes to the few wineries in the area. It was getting to be time for retirement so Charley's parents asked him if he wanted to start a winery or they were moving to Australia.
He made the right choice. That winery turned out to be what is considered Napa Royalty, Caymus Vineyards. They're Cabernet Sauvignons are in the top tier of California wines. They wanted to make other varietals, especially Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, but those don't do well in the warm climate of Rutherford.
So, 30 years ago, they headed south, along the coast, and came to the Santa Lucia Highlands. They gasped at the beauty. They gasped at the Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that were crafted here. That was enough gasping to put down roots and found Mer Soleil, which translates to sea and sun.
Because of their history, they hit the ground running and their new venture caught fire from the first vintage. If any of them were like what they're crafting now, it would be no surprise. This is one of the best Pinot's we've tasted in a long time. The perfect balance of nature and nurture produces cherry, blueberry, spice and vanilla wrapped in a robe of soft, tingling tannins just waiting for duck breast in a green peppercorn sauce.