Seavey Merlot, Napa Valley 2019

Deep ruby color; cherry, plum, blackberry jam, licorice, raspberry, chocolate, oak on the nose and palate.

Seavey Merlot, Napa Valley 2019

Dry; mellow merlot tannins and reserved acidity. Bit of tart cherry bite on the mid-palate and extended finish. Medium-full body. Concentrated dark fruit flavors. Single vineyard, 100% merlot, the 26th vintage of this approach. Early-morning harvest. Grapes de-stemmed and uncrushed berries were gently transferred into fermentation tanks to manage tannins and texture. Following whole-berry fermentation, the wine aged 20 months in French oak barrels, 40% new. 14.5% ABV

The Seavey vineyard-winery began in the 1870s in the Conn Valley. The vineyard was planted with grapes to make a “claret of high repute.” It was commonly known as the Franco-Swiss Farming Company. Phylloxera and Prohibition ended the effort, and for the next 50 years the land raised cattle and grain. Then Bill and Mary Seavey acquired the property in 1979 with a mission to revive the original vineyard.

Seavey winery

By 1990, the Seaveys had remodeled an 1881 stone dairy barn into a small winery. They began by first producing cabernet sauvignon and chardonnay, then added merlot and petit verdot. They also built a second winery building with an underground wine cave.

Mary and Bill Seavey

Winery website notes: “Production from the estate’s 40 planted acres is approximately 3,000 cases annually. This small-scale production allows us to maintain consistently high standards in both the vineyard and the winery. We’ve never bought a grape and we farm our land with our in-house crew. Our steep, rocky hillsides produce small, thick-skinned berries with outstanding tannins which must be handled very gently. As a result, our winemaking approach is gentle and patient. Stewarded by Jim Duane, our winemaker, and also Philippe Melka, our consulting winemaker, our goal is to create masterful, soulful wines that exude a sense of place and age gracefully.”

Seavey family today (left to right, standing)-Art, Charley, Fred, Will (and Scooter); (seated)-Djeneba, Annie, Dorie

Seavey Merlot, Napa Valley 2019 is a mellow merlot hewed from a rocky, challenging hillside vineyard. The Conn Valley site challenges both vines and viticulturists, which is a signature component of quality wine. This is quality wine. Cherry, plum, chocolate, appropriate oak notes make this a palate-pleasuring, serious wine. Pair with beef, there is enough character and depth to hang with serious cuts more often associated with cab—ribeye, braised short ribs; lamb; veal; fall-off-the-bone baby back ribs and pork shoulder; spiced sausage; barbecue fare, including chicken; herb-roasted chicken; roasted portobello mushrooms; oven-roasted vegetables; lentil soup. Cheese—merlot pairs with many kinds of cheese; gorgonzola, stilton, creamy brie, parmesan, munster, gouda, pecorino romano, manchego, colby, blue cheese, aged white cheddar, camembert. $85-95

Seavey website

Seavy winery