Winemaker Chris Phelps is one of the world’s experts on Merlot, having worked and lived in Bordeaux (at Pétrus) before spending 12 years as winemaker at Dominus, Christian Moueix’s Napa winery, and 7 years at Caymus.
General Manager Stuart Harrison has spent his career as a marketer at some of Napa Valley’s most prestigious red wine wineries—Robert Mondavi, La Famiglia and Stag’s Leap Wine Cellars among them.
Chris Phelps on Merlot…
“Wittingly, or unwittingly, Merlot continues to be the most ubiquitous international quality red wine grape in modern winemaking. Traditionalists and garagistes alikerely upon Merlot to produce blends and stand-alone wines. Merlot is not a ‘trend’ or a passing fancy, Merlot is here to stay.”
“Merlot is currently in a position of extraordinary power, both in terms of consumer recognition and consistent quality – but only when grown under optimal conditions. Terroir for Merlot is EVERYTHING!”
“It is not coincidence that Merlot is the premier variety of the Pomerol (80-100% of the blend) and a crucial variety in St. Emilion (40-80%). Throughout this region, it contributes roundness and charm, suppleness and harmony to the great wines of Bordeaux. Even on the Left Bank, why does Merlot represent at least 20%, if not 30-40% in the prestigious blends of Lafite, Margaux, Mouton and Latour? Ask the winemakers!!”