Elyse Merlot 2012, Hossfeld Vineyard, Napa Valley, California

From a vineyard 1,500 feet above the valley floor, where steep terraces have been chiseled into the bedrock of Soda Canyon, this is the premier release of Hossfeld Merlot. Each hole had to be dynamited in order to plant and the vines produce low yield, high quality grapes from these stressed growing conditions. The heat from Soda Canyon radiates up the hillside and keeps the rocks warm into the early evening. Afternoon breezes and a southern exposure create remarkable grapes with intense color and beautiful red fruit flavors. 96% Merlot blended with 4% Cabernet Sauvignon from Morisoli Vineyard, this is a beautiful beast of a wine, concentrated in red cherry and plum as well as mocha. Nicely weighted with soft tannin and length, it’s well made and should age. Aged 2 months in French oak, 62% new. The wine is deep purple colored with intriguing aromas of anise, cherry, cinnamon, mushroom and earth. It is lavishly textured with deep, dense fruit flavors of cherries, cassis, wild berries and plums with underlying hints of herbs and baking spice. This wine is rich and intense on the palate with ripe tannins and a long finish. This Merlot thinks it’s a Cab!