2002 Darioush Signature Merlot * Napa Valley

Dark chocolate, dense black cherry and roasted coffee notes marry to create lush, savory flavors that display extraordinary depth and balance. With a hint of toasty oak, acquired from aging 22 months in French Oak Chateau Barrels, the 2002 Merlot is inviting, and will continue to age beautifully for the next decade. 1188 cases produced.

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Release Date: Spring 2005
The 2002 Growing Season: The 2002 season was distinguished by foggy mornings, warm days and cool evenings producing fruit of exceptional quality. The long even growing season, slow maturity of fruit and lower yields developed concentrated and complex ripe flavors.
Vineyard Location:

100% Darioush Winery Estate

Varietal Composition: 100% Merlot
Brix @ Harvest: 24.5°
Alcohol: 14.0%
Cooperage: Aged for 22 months in new French oak, 3-year seasoned Château barrels coopered in Bordeaux from forests in the center of France, notably Tronçais.
Vinification: All lots were hand-harvested, hand-sorted and destemmed with 30% whole berry retention after slight maceration. Cold soaked for 72 hours in small fermentors. Pumped over through primary fermentation for extraction and tannin management. Pressed 28 days post-alcoholic fermentation with the pressed fraction kept separate. The vintage was racked into barrels after 48 hours of settling and aged 22 months in new French Oak. Bottled with minimal handling.
Food Affinities: Grilled rack of lamb, spicy Italian sausage, herb-encrusted ahi tuna and aged cheeses.
Winemaker's Comments: The 2002 Darioush Signature Merlot captures the richness of this outstanding vintage as well as beautiful mineral and cocoa characteristics from our estate vineyards. A distinctive expression of Napa Valley Merlot, the wine shows blackcurrant fruit with lovely chocolate, roasted coffee and a hint of toasty oak spice from 22 months aging in French oak barrels. A delight from an exquisite vintage.

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