Since our inaugural 1978 vintage, we have been proud to craft a vineyard-designate Merlot from the legendary Three Palms Vineyard. Named for its three iconic palm trees, this warm, up-valley vineyard features lean soils that cause the vines to send their roots deep in search of nutrients, yielding a profoundly intense and age-worthy wine with complex fruit and mineral layers. As a testament to its status as the benchmark for New World Merlot, in 2017, Wine Spectator honored our 2014 Three Palms Vineyard Merlot as Wine of the Year.
The 2017 growing season began with abundant winter rains, followed by a warm, dry spring that led to a perfectly timed bud break. In addition to replenishing the water table, the early season rains produced robust canopies, which provided invaluable shade during a week-long heat event that kicked harvest into gear during the last week of August. This was followed by a much-needed cooldown that allowed the vines to recuperate, while also giving us extra hang time for flavor development and tannin resolution. We harvested throughout September and into early October, with the grapes showing lovely ripeness and quality, yielding plush, polished and wonderfully complex wines.
Once again, the famed Three Palms Vineyard has yielded a fascinating and full-bodied Merlot. Luxurious aromas of black cherry, plum, raspberry, cedar and wet slate rise from the glass where they mingle with hints of chocolate and sweet baking spices. On the palate, dusty tannins add nuance and sophistication to a round, fleshy texture, with flavors of black and red fruit, fig and iron-rich earthy notes drawing the wine to a long, resonant finish.