Why a Meritage after all these years?
We’ve released six ÆROS® Cabernet Sauvignon wines in the fifteen years since ÆROS® was first born, so you might wonder what inspired us to produce a Meritage at this moment.
Inspiration describes it quite well. With the first harvest of our recently replanted estate vineyard, Geoff Gorsuch, our Winemaker, realized that the reward for the painstaking effort that went into the replant was beyond his greatest hopes: Fruit of exceptional flavor intensity and character – and select lots of wine with the elusive expression and singular style that inspired our first ÆROS® release.
Some years ago, we realized that our estate vineyard was succumbing to Pierce’s Disease, which is incurable. It was a sad realization but, at the same time, crisis has a way of presenting opportunity, and this was the chance to take a fresh look at the property.
Geoff worked closely with two of the foremost viticultural consultants in Napa Valley, Richard Nagaoka and Rollin Wilkinson, to gain a thorough understanding of our site. They dug numerous deep soil pits throughout our ten acres and began considering not just the best varieties, but the optimal clones of those varieties, the ideal rootstock hybrids and even the spacing that would produce the best results given the soil composition and depth for the specific site.
The variety of soils discovered in such a small area would be considered bizarre if they were found almost any place outside of Napa Valley. But, this very small region, which produces 4% of California’s wine, is composed of over 33 soil profiles and more than 140 soil variations that contribute to Napa Valley’s diversity.
Geoff was gratified, but not surprised when Nagaoka and Wilkinson came back with recommendations that were very much in step with his own conclusions: The site is the quintessential home for Bordeaux varieties. They meticulously matched the varieties, clones and rootstocks to the appropriate terroir within the property. The best Bordeaux clones were planted – three of Cabernet Sauvignon, two of Merlot, two of Cabernet Franc and one of Petit Verdot – an ideal basis for what has become perhaps the most exceptional ÆROS® release in our history.