Wine Spectator 93
This red offers an intensely fruity aroma, with well-knit flavors of plum tart, wild berry and dark cherry. A minerally snap lingers into the finish, offering luscious spiciness, with chocolate and dried green herbal nuances. Drink now through 2025. SMART BUY K.M., November, 2020
The 2017 year began with abundant rainfall, followed by a mild Spring resulting in extended flowering with little shatter. The summer warmed up nicely, allowing the fruit to mature at an even rate and make optimum conditions for flavor development. A Labor Day weekend heat event kicked harvest into high gear, then cool weather allowed sugar levels to return to normal. Our Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot grapes were harvested in mid-September and the first week in October, when they were in perfect balance. The fruit is predominantly from Rutherford, St. Helena, and the Oak Knoll District appellations.
Upon hand harvesting in the early morning hours, our grapes were carefully destemmed and sent to tank for a whole-berry fermentation. The grapes were cold soaked in tank at 45˚F for 4-7 days, allowing for increased color, aroma, and flavor extraction. After inoculation with a select yeast, the grape must (juice, skins, and seeds) fermented at 82˚F, which allowed for a hot extraction on the skins. For fermentation cap management, the juice was pumped over the skins two times per day, wetting the cap evenly for a nice healthy fermentation. After fermentation and pressing, the wine was aged in 35% new French oak and 65% neutral oak for 20 months before bottling. The blend is 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petit Verdot.
Whitehall Lane has always utilized the art of blending to make a Merlot with layers of flavors, complexity, and balance. These elements assist with the goal of varietal typicity in creating the perfect Merlot. This 2017 Napa Valley Merlot was bottled unfined and unfiltered.
This Merlot offers brambly red fruit, pomegranates, raspberry jam, red currants, dried mission figs, and layers of graphite and cocoa dust. On the palate, this Merlot has fine, firm tannins alongside dark cranberries, black cherry pie, raspberry coulis, toasted walnuts, leather, and vanilla toasted brioche. It is supple in texture and shows attractive depth on the finish. Enjoy right now and through 2030 with proper cellaring.
WINEMAKER: Jason Moulton
APPELLATION: Napa Valley
COMPOSITION: 90% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petit Verdot
Whitehall Lane WineryView all from Whitehall Lane Winery
We are a small, family owned winery in Napa Valley's historic Rutherford appellation. We own approximately 140 acres of prime Valley-floor vineyards including the Leonardini Vineyard in St. Helena and are committed to making the finest Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Reserve wine.
The winery continues to receive accolades and awards for producing some of the greatest wines in the world. In Wine Spectator Magazine's year-end ranking of wines, Whitehall Lane has been honored an unprecedented three times in five years for producing wines rated among the top five in the world. The winery has also been voted Winery of the Year from the Quarterly Review of Wines and Wine and Spirits Magazine.
Whitehall Lane was founded in 1979 but the history of the soil cultivation dates back two centuries. In the mid 1800's, Napa Valley settlers were drawn to the deep, loamy soils and ideal climate, planting high quality grape vines at the Whitehall Lane Winery site. A barn constructed in the early 1900's for equipment storage is still used today. In 1979, two brothers started the winery and directed their winemaking efforts successfully to Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They named the winery after the road that runs along the south border of the property, Whitehall Lane.
In 1993, the Leonardini Family of San Francisco took control of the Whitehall Lane estate. They updated the winemaking, instituted a new barrel-aging program and continued sourcing the finest vineyards. We started with one vineyard and now own seven prime vineyards that are the cornerstone on which the wines are made and include the Whitehall Lane Estate Vineyard, Millenium MM Vineyard and Bommarito Vineyard in the Rutherford Appellation, the Leonardini Vineyard and Fawn Park Vineyard in St. Helena, Oak Glen Vineyard in the Oak Knoll District and Rassi VIneyard in Sonoma. The Estate Vineyard is 25 acres of "Rutherford Dust" offering beautiful Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc grapes. The Millenium MM Vineyard offers outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon fruit while the Bommarito Vineyard is planted to Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. The Leonardini Vineyard is 14 acres of gravely soil yielding powerful Cabernet Sauvignon fruit and elegant yet intense Merlot grapes that go into the "Leonardini Vineyard" vineyard-designated wine. The Fawn Park Vineyard is on a gentle slope of Eastern hillside and produces intense Cabernet Sauvignon. The 25-acre Oak Glen Vineyard produces flavorful Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.
In our short history, Whitehall Lane has developed into a world-class winery. The efforts of the Leonardini Family are evident in the recent run of accolades from wine publications but are even more apparent in the beautifully made, elegant wines we continue to make.