Shafer Merlot Mer 2002
inemaker Kevin Morrisey’s continued commitment to making the well structured wines for which Stags’ Leap Winery is known is on display with this 2004 Napa Valley Merlot. The cornerstone of this process is the careful vineyard selection, meticulous farming, and partnering with some of Napa Valley’s premiere grape growers. The 2002 vintage will be remembered as near perfect. A warm spring contributed to an early bloom, and with the exception of a few hot days in June, the growing season was sunny, long, and mild. This combination helped to deliver a vibrant, healthy acidity in the fruit, and longer hang time on the vine meant beautifully mature tannins and fully ripe flavors. Harvest kicked off in mid-October with the majority of the Merlot fruit arriving from southern, cooler climates of Napa Valley. Small amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc from the estate were integrated as blending elements. All of the grapes for this Merlot, and for all Stags’ Leap wines, were hand picked and kept separate throughout harvest and fermentation. Classic Bordelaise winemaking techniques were used at the winery to finesse the tannins and maximize the concentration and extraction in the young wines. Before aging in French oak, winemaker Kevin Morrisey assembled the final blend of Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. Blending in the first year allows the wine to fully marry and settle into its symmetry and expression. Aromatics of ripe red cherry and sweet strawberry jam lead to flavors of rich red fruit, toasted almonds, dried thyme, and rosemary with a hint of black truffles. The firm tannic structure holds the melody of flavors together as a full-bodied mid palate carries through to a long finish complete with hints of licorice, black chocolate and orange peel. Varietal Profile: 92% Merlot 5% Cabernet Sauvignon 3% Cabernet Franc Release Date: April 2007 pH: 3.58 TA: 0.60 Alc.: 14.1 Bottled: August 2006
From a modest beginning of 1,000 cases in 1978, the winery has grown steadily until reaching its present size of 32,000 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Chardonnay, Sangiovese and Syrah. Today Shafer wines are available in major markets nationwide and in many foreign markets.