Franciscan Estate Napa Valley Merlot 2013: Dark scarlet color; plum, violets, chocolate, whiff of tobacco on the nose; dark cherry, plum, coca, red fruit, spice, some oak on the palate.
Smooth, medium-full bodied, plush, easy going tannin, acidity (3.69 pH); 97% merlot, 3% malbec, drinks somewhat like a well-behaved cabernet sauvignon, relatively short finish. The grapes come from various blocks in the cooler regions of Napa; each block is vinified separately to honor its needs, then the elements are brought together for the final product. The wine is made in the Oakville winery located in Franciscan’s Oakville Estate. The winery and vineyards are in the heart of Napa, across the road from Opus One, adjacent to Silver Oak, just west of Screaming Eagle, across Hwy 29 from Robert Mondavi and Far Niente. The winery earned Napa Green Certification in 2009; the focus remains honoring the land; original owner Agustin Huneeus Sr. famously said: “you don’t have brands in our business, you have properties.” This is easy going, easy drinker that both cab and merlot drinkers will enjoy. $23
Second photo: Franciscan vineyard