This wine to me really embodies the essence of what we believe in at No Love Lost. Going against the odds and seeing beauty in what most others would just pass by. 2020 was a crazy year for the whole world, but especially in the Napa Valley. In a year where all hope seemed lost, we were blessed to witness a rose rise from the concrete. This whole cluster Merlot is a testament that in the face of adversity, beauty and strength are born. It was September and the Glass fire was wreaking havoc on the valley. When almost all the prestigious estates in Napa were tossing fruit and a year to the wayside, we were given an opportunity to take a chance on an underdog that no one believed in. Sourced from one of the ritzy estates along Highway 29 in Rutherford, this wine beat the odds and became a star all its own.
I received a call from a friend who was at the time working for an estate in Rutherford. For the sake of not incriminating any of the parties involved, they will remain anonymous. They said take this amazing Merlot that is for insurance purposes going to get dropped on the ground. Please, come save its life, and that is exactly what we did. Bringing back a little over one ton of grapes, we trusted our judgment and sat back watching as magic happened.
Taking a wildly unconventional approach to vinifying this wine, it was tread lightly by foot and left on the stems. It was then that the juice rested naturally, beginning its fermentation process. Allowed to sit on skin and stems without a single punch down for the period of 8 days before being taken directly to be pressed off still sweet. This wine finished fermentation in barrel and sat on its lees nearly 20 months. Becoming in that time a savory and complex yet approachably fun Merlot. Like a rescued pup that becomes your best friend, it was not until months later that lab analysis came back letting us know that there was ZERO smoke damage on this wine. Letting us know our intuition was spot on, we had uncovered a gem. Teaching us to never give up and to never let anyone else write our story or tell our tale.
This wine would pair beautifully with roasted meats from Rib eye to Duck, and fares well with vegetal dishes that are otherwise tough to find matches for. Thanks to some serious luck, stems and even the Glass fire for making a Merlot unlike anything the valley has seen. Summer vegetables and duck confit play along very nicely, as do northern African spiced lamb. Chorizo Paella is something else that has made the perfect match when enjoying this wine. If I can suggest anything at all is let loose, put on your favorite tunes and try something new. You never know when or where you will find magic, but I hope this wine inspires you to keep on searching.
2020 Rutherford Merlot
12.9 % ABV