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2015 Blueline Estate Merlot

2015 Blueline Estate Merlot

Winemaker
Anthony Biagi
Vintners
Jeff & Carolyn Smith
Partners
The Chilton & Clark Families
Vineyard Designation
Blueline Estate
Soil Series
Gravelly Cortina River Wash
Appellation
Napa Valley
Varietals
81% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc -all 100% Estate Grown & Cellared
Barrel Program
17 months in 73% new French oak

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Other Vintages

Vintage Overview

2015 represented the fourth year of California drought, replicating conditions of the mid-1970s. Some of those '70s vintages remain legendary for their classic structural core, likely a function of drought-induced small berry size, yielding exceptional longevity and freshness. The 2012 to 2015 vintages are playing out much the same. Though different in character, these four vintages share a depth of concentration, fresh fruit expression and tightly woven inner core.

Where the 2015 vintage distinguishes itself is in a greater level of saturated fruit expression. The 2015 wines are dense in color and mouth coating in texture. They possess more lush fruit than the 2013s and greater depth than the 2014s. As Winemaker Tony Biagi notes, “2015 is right behind 2013 in terms of quality. The previous three years of drought, coupled with a weak El Niño year with its dry spring, summer and early fall, has produced opulent, full throttle wines. The vintage reminds me of 2008, which also delivered opulent, forward wines.”

Tasting Notes

Merlot from the Blueline Estate continues to amaze us! The ashen soils of the upper bench of the estate where the Merlot is planted, are not typical of Merlot vineyards. Almost completely devoid of clay (very common for Merlot vineyards), these porous, mineral-rich, nutrient-poor soils provide incredible drainage that in turn yield spring water deficits and very small berries. These small berries translate to great concentration and firm tannins in the wines. The 2015 Merlot is dark and brooding, akin to the 2008 vintage.

Yeasty blackberry cobbler, Asian spice, exotic Mandarin orange peel, and a touch of graphite defines its aromatics. Explosive, rich, dark very complex layers of delicious fruit evoke blackberry, sour cherry, crème de cassis and an intriguing note of Hoisin. The texture has a rounded suppleness, with a firm spine from its Cabernet component to tighten the structural core and add a trailing finish. The finish is long and expansive. Amazingly approachable now, this wine has the stuffing to age gracefully and could outrun common assertions of age-ability for Merlot. The 2015 Merlot should hit its peak in 2020-2022, and may be great for many years after.

~Jeff Smith, March 2017

Other Vintages

2014 Blueline Estate Merlot
2013 Blueline Estate Merlot
2012 Blueline Estate Merlot
2011 Blueline Estate Merlot
2010 Blueline Estate Merlot
2009 Blueline Estate Merlot
2008 Blueline Estate Merlot
2007 Blueline Estate Merlot
2006 Blueline Estate Merlot