Napa Valley, California
Wanting to produce fine wines under his own label, winemaker David Tate created his own personal brand separate from his work at Barnett. David grew up in B.C. and spent the past 20 years making wine around the world before settling in Napa Valley. We learned about TATE Wines when David visited WineCollective a couple years ago. One of the most important aspects of his production is vineyard selection and management. The growers that David works with have esteemed vineyard sites and incomparable dedication to the quality of their fruit. Only nine barrels were produced of this wine, which is roughly just under 3,000 bottles. How do you know how many bottles come from one barrel? The standard calculation is that each barrel holds about 227 litres, or 300 bottles. Barrels will differ slightly, but this information might come in handy in a game of Trivial Pursuit! Enjoyable today, especially after 30 minutes decanted. Or cellar easily until 2022. Enjoy at 18C.
The colour of purple plums, a deeper core with violet edges.
David noted this is a bit more serious than in years before, and we agree. There is a lot of rich, plump notes on the nose, from plums and blueberries to dark cherry and blackberry. Baking spice and vanilla are pungent and beautiful, with the right amount of peppercorn spice.
2014's record reaching heat not only produced a deeply hued and aromatic Merlot, the ripe grapes provided a strong and juicy backbone. This is the fourth release from the Joan Ellen vineyard and is probably the most complex and serious, while being very drinkable. Plum, blue fruits, vanilla, pebbles, dark chocolate and spice are full throttle, with velvety tannins and fresh acidity. Aged in French oak barrels, 50% new for 22 months.
We have an affinity for Merlot with rich comfort foods: casseroles, meatloaf, or braised short ribs.