Barnett Vineyards Merlot 2018, Spring Mountain District, CA

Fiona and Hal Barnett purchased a 40-acre property located atop Spring Mountain in 1983. The lot consisted of nothing but trees, rocks, shrubs, and dozens of rattlesnakes. After extensive work clearing, grading, and terracing the land, the first Cabernet Sauvignon vines were planted the following year. Since the very beginning, the intent was to produce small amounts of hand crafted wines that would showcase the unique characteristics found in grapes cultivated on such challenging, high elevation terrain. 2018 vintage – 88% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 3.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 3.5% Petit Verdot. Aged 22 months in French oak barrels, 65% new and 35% a range of 2-4 years old. This Merlot comes from higher elevations on Spring Mountain. It is picked in the dark hours of the morning to ensure it arrives cool and undamaged. The Merlot spent an average of 20 days on its skins, much longer than average due to the extended hang time loosening the skins. This is a very bright and fruit driven wine. The nose is bursting with black cherries and blueberry pie as well as cinnamon toast and caramel. There is some pleasant underpinning eucalyptus and gravel minerality. As always with this wine the mouth is full and rich. The tannins are present but soft as the lush viscosity coats them. The acidity is present but softer than previous years. There is a wonderful chocolate and cherry finish.