Oberon Merlot 2020
To naturally soften tannins and enhance varietal complexity. Tony allowed the grapes to undergo extended maceration. He then pressed the wine and transferred it to French oak barrels (45% new oak) to undergo a long malolactic fermentation for roundness and depth. Using Syrah and Zinfandel as blenders, adds a dark velvety feel to the lush berry flavor profile of the Merlot. Dense black fruit aromas are followed by blueberry and chocolates flavors, and supple tannins on the palate.
Winemaker Tony Coltrin was born in St. Helena and is a lifelong Napa Valley resident. Having grown up in Napa Valley and worked in the wine industry for over 45 years, Coltrin knows every corner of the valley and precisely which sub-zones excel at producing Bordeaux grapes of exceptional character.
Tony’s life-long relationships with grape growers throughout the Napa Valley are the key to Oberon’s quality. He is able to draw on those friendships to reliably obtain top quality fruit at a fair price year after year. For Oberon, Tony selects Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay grapes from Napa’s best winegrowing regions, including Rutherford, Oakville, Oak Knoll, Yountville, Chiles Valley and Capell Valley.
By layering together structured hillside fruit, plush fruit from the alluvial valley floor and fruit sourced from diverse soils within the valley, Tony crafts quintessential Napa Valley wines: complex, flavorful wines with ample natural acidity. Oberon Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic Napa Cabernet with deep, rich color and concentrated blackberry and cassis flavors. The Merlot shows textbook plum and black currant flavors and silky texture. The Sauvignon Blanc is partially fermented in barrel, adding body and texture to the vibrant green apple, kiwi, pear and melon fruit flavors. The Carneros Chardonnay is an expressive, approachable, fruit-forward wine with notes of caramelized white pear, fresh Fuji and Golden Delicious apple, and torched crème brûlée.
As Napa Valley’s third most planted grape, Napa Valley Merlot shows time and time again its potential to produce exceptional results. Napa’s vaunted combination of climate, soil and the human factor of winemaking expertise lead to big, ripe, cellar-worthy and world-class versions.
Whether made by itself in single varietal bottlings or as an important role in Bordeaux Blends, Merlot continues a prominent role in this famous region. While Cabernet typically takes the lead role, Merlot’s contribution—even at 10% to 20% or so—is significant indeed. Often described as “the flesh on Cabernet’s bones,” Merlot lends a soft, round and plush character that beautifully complements Cabernet’s linear, full-throttle structure. Its flavors of plums plus subtle herbs and mint also dovetail nicely with Cabernet’s blackberry and cassis.