The 2006 Swanson Merlot is a definite cross between classic Napa Merlot and quintessential Right-Bank Bordeaux. Ripe cassis and elegant black cherry on the nose, with a hint of spice and plum. The tannins are very ripe and firm. Sweet, toasty oak, overlaid with pure raspberry extract and black cherry. Will cellar very nicely for the next 10 years.
In 2006, our Merlot blocks provided average to just below average crop levels, yet conservative by Napa standards. Ample rain over the 2005-2006 winter meant red varieties began the season with a strong budbreak. Fruitful buds and their merlot tends to be relatively fruitful— meant more fruit, so we thinned carefully to control crop load. Moderately warm spring weather encouraged even development of the fruit. Heat spikes in late July and early August were tempered by cooler weather for the duration of final ripening and harvest—perfect conditions for harvesting the fruit precisely when flavor, acid and tannin ripeness dictated. As usual, our clay-loam soils played a pivotal role in achieving perfectly ripe Merlot grapes.