2007 Pestoni Family Howell Mountain Estate Reserve Merlot

Mission Codename: Above the Fog

Operative: Agent Red

Objective: Merlot is not frequently featured here, not because we don’t love the food-fantastic varietal, but because we are so picky. Respond to Operative requests for a great Merlot by sending Agent Red to our friends at Rutherford Grove Winery. Investigate their premium Howell mountain Reserve Merlot. If the wine is superb, secure an ample allocation.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards

Wine Subject: 2007 Pestoni Family Howell Mountain Estate Reserve Merlot

Winemaker: Andy Pestoni

Backgrounder: Merlot, one of the primary grape varietals from Bordeaux finds an exceptional home in the Napa Valley. Napa County’s Howell Mountain AVA, established in 1984 is known for its wines of deep concentration and intensity. The higher elevation and relatively flat aspect make the location great for vineyards, and specifically Bordeaux varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The first vines in the Howell Mountain area were planted in the 1880s.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Deep ruby hues with a slightly darker core, this wine shows a pretty magenta ring at the edge of the glass. After swirling the wine, tall, skinny, widely-spaced, wine-stained tears form high up on the glass wall, before rocketing downward.

Smell – Fragrant and lush with pronounced black cherry, dusty bramble, blackberry and dried cranberry out in the lead. Swirl the wine and you’ll coax out additional aromas of boysenberry, raspberry, cracked leather, subtlest cracked pepper and a hint of fresh mint at the very back of the nose.

Feel – Soft and round at the front of the palate, the wine then introduces a soft dryness at the edges of the palate. Gradually, this dryness spreads inward, eventually drying the cheeks and lips. Soft, integrated tannins balance against the juicy bright acidity of the wine.

Taste – Sweet dried cherry, dried cranberry, strawberry and raspberry take the lead. Leather, soft oak, bramble, black pepper and shaved dark chocolate follow behind.

Finish – Very long, slightly dry and loaded with red fruit flavors that give way to leather, spice, chocolate and black pepper at the very end.

Conclusion – Ahhhh. When a Merlot is great, it is great. Today’s 2007 2007 Pestoni Family Howell Mountain Estate Reserve Merlot from Rutherford Grove Winery is, you guessed it, great. Juicy, complex, bright and delicious, this is a very food-friendly and flexible wine that will pair with almost anything. We paired our review bottles with grilled pizzas. See our recipe, below. the pairing was absolutely perfect. If you love Merlot, we’re confident that you’ll fall in love with this special, high-elevation delight from our friends at Rutherford Grove Winery.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the Rutherford Grove Winery and Vineyards can be seen in this satellite photo.

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