2012 Smoke Signals Merlot
What it tastes like to us...
People have been trying to communicate with one another since the beginning of time. Sure, texting has replaced smoke signals, but the idea is the same: we like to talk, and if we’re lucky, we find someone who likes to listen. In our view, wine makes all this communicating business much easier, loosening the tongue while coating the palate. Speaking of…Smoke Signals Merlot brings it with dark fruit flavors of blueberry and cassis, a splash of coffee and some melt-in-the-mouth milk chocolate. Licorice and anise show up in the mix, and the overall impression is warm, lush and spicy. Now we’re talking. Oh, and the label art? It’s by Raúl the Third, known for his Lowriders in Space illustrations.
What Mother Nature delivered...
If you look up "Napa Valley 2012 Vintage" in the dictionary you’ll find the words "classic," "perfect," and "ideal." Just kidding. The dictionary doesn’t have that listing, but those words do describe the ’12 vintage. Every day that growing season we woke up, looked at the sky, and said "another perfect day in Napa Valley." Sure there was a drought, but the long stretch of warm days and cool, foggy nights let the grapes do what they do best. Who are we to complain?
What we did then...
Handpicked, hand sorted the grapes, then poured ‘em into a stainless tank where they did a "cold soak" for four days – something we do before fermentation to bring out the color from the skins without the influence of alcohol. We aged the wine for 16 months in once-and twice-used French oak barrels (so the oak softens the wine, but doesn’t necessarily impart a lot of flavor to it), racking several times from barrel to barrel. The wine was bottled without fining.
If you don’t want to read all of the above:
Appellation: Napa Valley
Varietal: 100% Merlot
Aging: 16 months in a combination of one and two-year old French oak barrels