2011 Frog's Leap Rutherford Napa Valley Merlot

SKU #1142173 92 points Wine & Spirits

 John Williams consistently produces one of the freshest Merlots in Napa Valley, this vintage light and pretty with supple plum and red currant flavors. It lacks the confected fruit of so many wines that bear the varietal name, hewing instead to clean lines and a long, mouthwatering finish. Pour it with roast duck.  (4/2014)

K&L Notes

This estate-grown wine is 88% Merlot, beefed up with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc. Frog's Leap wines are often lower in alcohol, and more on the earthy, mineral-y side than many in Napa, not just because they've hewed to a style since the winery was founded in the 1970s. They also practice dry farming--as does nearly all of Europe, but little of Napa--or, utilizing only the season's natural rainfall and the vineyardist Frank Leeds' skill to coax a crop from the vines. The grapes for this wine were harvested from September 26 to October 27 at an incredibly, wildly low 22.2° Brix, resulting in a super-low abv of 12.7%, the likes of which has been rarely seen in Napa since the days of disco. From the winery's vintage notes: "It is said in our business that the true test of a winery is the ability to produce an excellent wine in a difficult vintage. Make no mistake, the 2011 vintage was one that we will all remember as, quite possibly, the most challenging in the last 35 years; especially when it came to Merlot. Given those challenges we are proud to have succeeded in producing a wine that is both charming now and will have a place in our cellars for decades to come. It is beautifully fragrant and, though it is lighter and less deeply textured than a typical Frog's Leap Merlot, it has wonderful drinkability. But most of all is that it makes no apology, it celebrates its 2011-ishness: It is proud."

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Price: $34.99
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- A very popular red grape variety found in the great wines of St. Emilion and Pomerol. It is the most planted variety in Bordeaux, and it has also become an extremely fashionable red in many regions including California. Although it has a reputation to be smooth, and easy to drink when young, Merlot is also capable of producing extremely intense wines as well. It is often used as a blending agent with Cabernet Sauvignon.

United States

- When people consider domestic wine, they normally think about the state of California. The fine viticultural Region within California, including the Napa Valley, Sonoma, Santa Cruz Mountains, Mendocino and Santa Barbara, are capable of growing grapes of world-class quality. But there's plenty of fabulous wine coming from other states, too. Oregon, Washington and New York are also causing eyebrows (and glassware) to be raised around the world. Click for a list of bestselling items from the United States.


- With the explosive growth that California's wine industry has seen the past several years, it's easy to view winemaking and grape growing in the Golden State as a recent phenomenon. And while it's true that California's viticultural history is brief compared to several European countries, this state's roots date back well over 200 years. Due to the enormous response to California wine within the United States and worldwide, there are thousands of excellent and diverse wines being produced within the state each year. For our entire selection of California wines, please visit this link.
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Napa Valley

- America's most famous wine region, which encompasses a varied geographical territory running about 20 miles long from the San Francisco Bay northward to the foot of Mount St. Helena. Napa's great diversity, both in terms of climate and terroir, has led to the creation of a number of smaller AVAs like Stags Leap District, Rutherford, Howell Mountain, Oakville and Mount Veeder, among others. Cabernet and chardonnay still reign supreme, but just about everything under the sun is grown in Napa Valley, in quality levels ranging from $2 jug wine to $500 a bottle California cab.
Alcohol Content (%): 13.6