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2010 Blueline Estate Merlot

2010 Blueline Estate Merlot

Bob Foley
Jeff and Carolyn Smith
The Chilton and Clark Families
Vineyard Designation
Blueline Estate
Soil Series
Gravelly Cortina River Wash
Calistoga, Napa Valley
83% Merlot & 17% Cabernet Sauvignon Block 11 clone 337
Barrel Program
Aged 19 months in a blend of new and seasoned French oak

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Other Vintages

Current Vintage Overview

A cooler vintage by Napa standards, the daytime high temperatures in 2010 hovered consistently in the low 80s with cool evenings and mornings. The magic of the vintage was the consistency of temperatures over the entire growing season with no extended hot or cold/wet spikes, save for one heat cycle in the Fall. As a general rule, we stopped using the practice of de-leafing in cool vintages which was a huge benefit when we experienced an Indian summer heat spike in late September. While it took longer to develop flavors and ripen phenolics (with later picking dates across the various blocks), the even nature of the growing season provided ideal conditions for creating exceptionally balanced grape chemistry. Balance is the single hardest thing to accomplish in farming world-class wine and 2010 was a vintage that provided ideal conditions.

This year our old vine Merlot block turned 21. In the “New World,” vine age is often overlooked but in the mineral-soils of Blueline, the age and depth of the root system is an integral part of the fruit’s uniqueness as it delves deep into the soils for its essence. These soils are broken down volcanic ash mixed with cobble and river washed sand, high in mineral concentration, low in organic carbon (clay). The result is a truly special terroir for Merlot, rendering small berries that deliver complex and dense flavors, yet retain incredible structure through an electric minerality. 

Tasting Profile

Explosive aromatics of dark sour cherry, black berry puree, plum and hints of cedar and tealeaf are followed on the palate by flavors of plum, hoisin, dark chocolate and tangy red fruits. Unlike past vintages, we blended a larger concentration of Cabernet in the 2010 adding tighter structure and additional layers. A faint hint of sage and fennel from the Block 11 Cabernet Sauvignon can be detected as it opens. This Merlot exhibits stunning opulence and density while bright acidity and vibrant minerality create a brightness that brings dimension and intricacy.

~Jeff Smith, January 2016

Other Vintages

2015 Blueline Estate Merlot
2014 Blueline Estate Merlot
2013 Blueline Estate Merlot
2012 Blueline Estate Merlot
2011 Blueline Estate Merlot
2009 Blueline Estate Merlot
2008 Blueline Estate Merlot
2007 Blueline Estate Merlot
2006 Blueline Estate Merlot