Reviews & Awards

People are talking about Merryvale wines! Here are just a few of the recent reviews and awards. Looking for reviews of a specific Merryvale wine? Simply click on the "Reviews & Awards" link on that wine's info page.

July 01, 2013
90 Points - Cellar Selection
     

2010 Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"Buying Guide"

Lovely to drink now for its smoth, silky texture, dryness and balancing acidity. The flavors are wildly rich, suggesting cherry pie, red currant, licorice, bacon and sandalwood. Good as it is, it will improve with 4-5 years in the bottle, picking up earthier dried fruit and mushroom notes. Cellar Selection.

- Steve Heimoff

May 01, 2013
92 Points
     

2009 Petit Verdot, Saint Helena Estate, Napa Valley

"Buying Guide"

Blended with a little Cabernet Sauvignon, this Petit Verdot succeeds wildly in appealing to the senses. It's rich, dry and smooth in tannins with intense oak, blackberry and chocolate flavors, with a little bit of warmth on the finish. Ready to drink now.

- Steve Heimoff

May 01, 2013
92 Points
     

2010 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Buying Guide"

It's impossible to exaggerate the yummy factor of this silky, fruity Pinot Noir. While it has pleasant acidity, it's the raspberry, cherry, cinnamon and brown-sugar flavors that make it so appealing to drink now.

- Steve Heimoff

February 20, 2013
92 Points
     

2010 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

Combines richness with elegance and finesse, offering intense and focused citrus-laced pear, honeysuckle and melon notes, expanding on the lingering, flavorful finish. Drink now through 2018.

- James Laube

January 15, 2013
2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2011 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"The results are in!"

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines in the world, featuring more than 60 professional wine experts within the media, restaurant and hospitality, winemaking and retail wine industries who gather to judge thousands of wine entries from around the country.

Consistently breaking records each year, the 2012 and 2013 Competition have generated an astounding 5,500 entries from thousands of wineries across the country.

- Tasting Panel

January 15, 2013
2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
     

2011 Chardonnay, Carneros

"The results are in!"

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines in the world, featuring more than 60 professional wine experts within the media, restaurant and hospitality, winemaking and retail wine industries who gather to judge thousands of wine entries from around the country.

Consistently breaking records each year, the 2012 and 2013 Competition have generated an astounding 5,500 entries from thousands of wineries across the country.

- Tasting Panel

January 15, 2013
2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
     

2009 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"The results are in!"

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines in the world, featuring more than 60 professional wine experts within the media, restaurant and hospitality, winemaking and retail wine industries who gather to judge thousands of wine entries from around the country.

Consistently breaking records each year, the 2012 and 2013 Competition have generated an astounding 5,500 entries from thousands of wineries across the country.

- Tasting Panel

December 18, 2012
89 Points
     

2009 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Starmont is laced with sweet red berries, flowers, spices and licorice... It is a delicious wine to drink now and over the next few years. Even better, it is a terrific value.

- Antonio Galloni

December 01, 2012
Wine Advocate
91 Points
     

2010 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

The 2010 Chardonnay Silhouette emerges from the glass with lush tropical fruit, dried pears, butter and French oak. The Silhouette is a decidedly large-scaled, voluptuous Chardonnay with tons of textural depth. A hint of residual sugar lingers on the finish, but the wine’s balance is totally impeccable within this style. The Silhouette was made entirely from Stanly Ranch fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.

- Antonio Galloni

December 01, 2012
Wine Advocate
90 Points
     

2010 Chardonnay, Carneros

Merryvale’s 2010 Chardonnay is a tasty wine with plenty of character and personality. Rich, buttery and broad-shouldered, but with good balance, the 2010 captures the essence of Carneros in its expressive fruit and enveloping personality. Sweet floral notes, orange blossoms and nectarines add complexity on the finish. This delicious, barrel-fermented Chardonnay finishes with lovely sweetness and length. The 2010 was made from Stanly Ranch and Hyde Vineyard fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.

- Antonio Galloni

December 01, 2012
Wine Advocate
88-90 Points
     

2010 Syrah, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

A beguiling, exotic bouquet laced with juniper berries, black cherries, rose petals and spices emerges from the 2010 Syrah. A bit lighter on the palate than its aromatics might suggest, the 2010 possesses lovely inner sweetness and perfume, not to mention excellent overall balance. There is a lot to look forward to here. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2018.

- Antonio Gallani

December 01, 2012
91 Points
     

2009 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Year's Best Cabernet"

A luscious Napa Valley blend, this has fragrant red cherry and herb-scented fruit enriched by oak. Barrel age has brought the texture to a generous smoothness, adding walnut tones to contrast the bright fruit. Ready to decant for filet mignon. (W&S, 10/12)

November 01, 2012
Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines
91 Points
     

2010 Syrah, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

This particular vineyard is more often mentioned as the source of many first-rate Pinots, but it is clearly capable of producing serious Syrahs as well. This one is long on intense varietal spice and is fit with a full measure of well-extracted fruit and plenty of distinctive, ever-so-slightly bacony oak. While fairly gutsy and quite full in body, it is not at all tough and shows a bit of polish that bodes well for the future. It may not need ten years to get where it is going, but we recommend that it be set aside for at least four or five.

September 06, 2012
St. Helena Star
Top Wine
     

2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Top 2011 Sauvignon Blanc"

Merryvale Juliana Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc ($26) won the top spot. This is the wine that panelists decided was the best structured, most balanced, and most exciting to taste. The wine is barrel fermented and then aged on its lees, adding complexity to the final wine. Ripe pear and melon with citrus and a bit of floral come in this beautifully crafted wine.

August 31, 2012
88 Points
     

2011 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Best Values - White Wines"

Lemon-lime and guava flavors are bright and juicy, with spice, floral and minerally details. Clean and refreshing. Drink now. 6,640 cases made.

- MaryAnn Worobiec

July 01, 2012
Restaurant Wine
Execptional: A superstar within its price category. Very highly recommended.
     

2010 Chardonnay, Carneros

"Star Listings"

Exceptional! Perhaps the best-ever version of this wine. It is refined and complex in flavor, supple and full bodied on the palate, and harmonious on the finish. It is medium rich, well balanced, and very persistent, tasting of pear, apple, pineapple, lemon peel, roasted nut, and spicy oak. Barrel fermented, with malolactic fermentation. Aged 11 months in French oak barrels, 43% new.

- Tasting Panel

July 01, 2012
Restaurant Wine
Excellent: Among the very best of its type for the price. Highly recommended.
     

2010 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Star Listings"

Full bodied and supple in texture, this is a rich, well balanced wine with a bit more oak than the Carneros but the same finesse (pear, pineapple, roasted nut, candied lemon). On the finish, it is slightly woody and quite persistent.

- Tasting Panel

May 02, 2012
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines
94 Points & Two Puffs
     

2009 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

The hit of the show, this one builds on the highly successful previous vintage and does it a real star turn better. Deep, layered, nicely crafted and complex, the wine smells of cassis, black olives, briar and just a bit of dark chocolate, and it repeats its fruit and layering in flavors that find a touch of dried tobacco leaf for further range. A rather forceful wave of latter palate tannin is met stride for stride by the deep, compelling flavors, and while bottle aging is next to demanded, this is not a coarse, sinewy wine. We would lay it away for some three to six years at a minimum.

- Charles Olken and Stephen Eliot

May 01, 2012
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines
90 Points & One Puff
     

2008 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

There is a great deal to like about this ripe and very outgoing wine, from its wealth of concentrated, slightly juicy young fruit to its liberal appointment of sweet oak. But, that said, its early appeals are interrupted by a full complement of gritty young tannins that are the price of its considerable extract, and, if a complex and generous wine may await some five to ten years down the line, be warned that patience is an absolute must.

- Charles Olken and Stephen Eliot

March 29, 2012
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Recommended
     

2009 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Great wineries for sipping Sauvignon Blanc"

Starmont
A sister label of Merryvale Vineyards in St. Helena, the Starmont Winery is based in Carneros and is the happy home of the producer’s nicely crafted sauvignon blancs, including the 2009 ($18), a rambunctious version of the wine, fermented in both oak and stainless steel. Melon, lime and lemongrass make up the majority of its lushness, and the wine’s texture is layered enough to stand up to spicy food or an oyster topped with a cilantro and tomato-based relish.

- Virginie Boone

March 28, 2012
90 Points
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

A rich, elegant style, with ripe black cherry and plum notes joined by a touch of cola. Medium- to full-bodied, at points delicate and vibrant, this all comes together nicely on the finish. Best from 2013 through 2022. 348 cases made.

- James Laube

March 28, 2012
90 Points
     

2009 Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros

Young, tight and vibrant, but already showing complex nuances. The texture is pithy, yet the mix of ripe apple, butterscotch and honeydew melon flavors promises more good things to come. Needs a little time. Best from 2013 through 2020. 195 cases made.

- James Laube

March 27, 2012
2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
DOUBLE GOLD / BEST CHARDONNAY OF THE SHOW
     

2010 Chardonnay, Carneros

"Results are in!"

Our Merryvale 2010 Carneros Chardonnay won DOUBLE GOLD / BEST CHARDONNAY OF THE SHOW!

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is now the third largest wine competition in the United States with over 3,200 entries from 22 countries. The competition is also the largest charitable competition in North America supporting a charity, Camp Good Days – which is dedicated to helping children with terminal cancer.

- Tasting Panel

March 27, 2012
2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
     

2011 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Results are in!"

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is now the third largest wine competition in the United States with over 3,200 entries from 22 countries. The competition is also the largest charitable competition in North America supporting a charity, Camp Good Days – which is dedicated to helping children with terminal cancer.

- Tasting Panel

March 27, 2012
2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2010 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Results are in!"

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is now the third largest wine competition in the United States with over 3,200 entries from 22 countries. The competition is also the largest charitable competition in North America supporting a charity, Camp Good Days – which is dedicated to helping children with terminal cancer.

- Tasting Panel

March 27, 2012
2012 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2009 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"Results are in!"

The Finger Lakes International Wine Competition is now the third largest wine competition in the United States with over 3,200 entries from 22 countries. The competition is also the largest charitable competition in North America supporting a charity, Camp Good Days – which is dedicated to helping children with terminal cancer.

- Tasting Panel

March 21, 2012
92 Points
     

2009 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Marquee names in Californian and French wine"

"...In California, top bottles include a Cabernet from Coup de Foudre, a new Syrah from the specialists at Alban, a Bordeaux blend from Merryvale, a Greg Norman Syrah and the latest Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon Martha’s Vineyard, which is from the fantastic 2007 vintage.

Burgundy, meanwhile, is ably represented by Lucien Le Moine, American vintner Alex Gambal, Domaine Faiveley and Louis Jadot."

Merryvale 2009 Profile, Napa Valley:
Exhibits a rich array of savory herb, dried dark berry, mocha, licorice, smoke and cedar flavors, gaining depth and richness and
firming nicely on the finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot,
Malbec and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2020.

- James Laube

March 13, 2012
2012 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL / BEST OF CLASS
     

2011 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Competition Results!"

- Tasting Panel

March 01, 2012
92 Points
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Best Buys in the Market"

These wines remain high on our list of top TWO PUFF Pinot buys...
the very well-crafted TWO PUFF Merryvale Carneros Pinot Noir 2009...

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

March 01, 2012
93 Points
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

The acidic, minerally earthiness of Carneros Pinot Noir is uplifted by the ripe, fruity vintage, resulting in quite a fine young wine. May well be Merryvale’s best ever. Their regular ’09 was a beauty. This takes the dry, crisp fruitiness to new heights in richness and complexity. Silky and elegant in cherries, raspberries and cola, it should gain traction over the next six years.

- Steve Heimoff

February 01, 2012
Wine & Spirits Magazine
90 Points
     

2010 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"American New Releases"

Bright and spicy with an edge of lime-citrus acidity and a lasting floral peach fragrance, this is a clean, tart sauvignon for ceviche.

- Tasting Panel

January 09, 2012
Ken's Wine Guide
93 Points / Very Good
     

2009 Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros

This light yellow colored Chardonnay opens with a ripe Bartlett pear bouquet with a hint of cantaloupe. On the palate, this wine is full bodied, nicely balanced, creamy and smooth. The flavor profile is a very tasty ripe Bartlett pear with nicely integrated vanilla oak with hints of butterscotch and cantaloupe. The finish is dry, slightly crisp and lingers for a while. This wine is very food friendly and would be perfect with chicken cordon bleu with wild mushroom risotto.

- Ken Hoggins

January 06, 2012
2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2010 Pinot Noir, Carneros

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition continues to be the largest competition of American Wines in the World, breaking it's own record with 5,500 entries this year.

- Tasting Panel

January 06, 2012
2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2008 Merlot, Napa Valley

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition continues to be the largest competition of American Wines in the World, breaking it's own record with 5,500 entries this year.

- Tasting Panel

January 06, 2012
2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
     

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition continues to be the largest competition of American Wines in the World, breaking it's own record with 5,500 entries this year.

- Tasting Panel

January 06, 2012
2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2008 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition continues to be the largest competition of American Wines in the World, breaking it's own record with 5,500 entries this year.

- Tasting Panel

January 06, 2012
2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2009 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

The San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition continues to be the largest competition of American Wines in the World, breaking it's own record with 5,500 entries this year.

- Tasting Panel

December 23, 2011
93 Points
     

2009 'Profile', Napa Valley

The 2009 Profile bursts on the palate with an exciting array of black fruit, smoke, tar, licorice and grilled herbs. It is a muscular wine endowed with considerable depth and richness, but despite its obvious size, all of the elements are in harmony. This big boy will need some cellaring, but it is beautiful. Profile is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 3% Malbec and 2% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.

- Antonio Galloni

December 23, 2011
92 Points
     

2009 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

The 2009 Chardonnay Silhouette comes across as vivid and beautifully articulated. Nothing really stands out here, just the wine’s terrific sense of balance and harmony. The integration of oak is exceptional, while the fruit avoids heaviness or excessive tropical notes. This is a gorgeous Chardonnay to drink now and over the next few years. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.

- Antonio Galloni

December 23, 2011
91 Points
     

2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon flows from the glass with plums, black cherries, graphite, grilled herbs and smoke. This fleshy, up-front Cabernet Sauvignon shows fabulous overall balance and harmony in a style best enjoyed over the next decade or so. In 2009 the blend is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.

- Antonio Galloni

December 23, 2011
92 Points
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

The 2009 Pinot Noir Stanly Ranch Estate is a striking wine laced with freshly cut flowers, sweet red berries, minerals and spices. It shows lovely delineation and exceptional overall balance in a medium-bodied style. This is a beautiful, harmonious wine from start to finish. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.

- Antonio Galloni

December 21, 2011
94 Points
     

2008 'Profile', Napa Valley

"This week’s Wine Spectator Insider"

This elegant, graceful style offers complex aromas of spice, sage, cedar and dark berry. Rich and supple in texture, ending with firm tannins, lingering fruit and melted black licorice notes. Very impressive. Drink now through 2022.

- James Laube

December 14, 2011
Today on MSNBC.com and thristygirl.com
Recommended
     

2009 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Quality Wines That Won't Break The Bank"

Merryvale Vineyards in Napa is a historic property that produces age-worthy reds, but this white, from their sister brand Starmont, is a wine that could easily sell for twice the price. Hints of spice and vanilla match with ripe fruit in a smooth white that serves up pure pleasure.

- Leslie Sbrocco

December 07, 2011
92 Points
     

2009 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Insider: a first look at our editors’ most exciting new wines"

Pure, intense and vibrant, this displays citrus, lemon, honeysuckle and butterscotch notes woven together in a tight cocoon, but the flavors slowly unfold, with grace and dimension. Long, persistent finish. Best from 2013 through 2023.

- James Laube

November 17, 2011
ZiggyTheWineGal.com
Recommended
     

2010 Starmont Rosé Wine, Carneros

"2011 Thanksgiving Wine Picks"

Very noteworthy to mention...
2010 Starmont Rose: Rhubarb, Strawberry, Full Bodied, Balanced, Tasty, Vibrant

- Ziggy Eschliman

November 17, 2011
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
Recommended
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine

"Thanksgiving Dessert Wines"

Here are some locally produced favorites...

Merryvale Antigua Dessert Wine: Merryvale makes this wine using Muscat de Frontignan grapes harvested from 1970 to 1983 and again from 1992 to 1994 and fortifying the wine with pot-still brandy crafted in the Napa Valley, like a port. The whole lot then ages in French oak barrels for an average of 11 years, turning it a deep butterscotch color and allowing aromas and flavors of orange peel and hazelnut to settle in.

- Virginie Boone

November 09, 2011
89 Points
     

2009 Chardonnay, Carneros

Pure, ripe and layered, with complex oak evident from the start, joined by ripe apple, pear, citrus and honeydew melon flavors. Medium- to full-bodied, with depth, focus and persistence. Drink now through 2017.

- James Laube

November 09, 2011
88 Points
     

2009 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

Clean, pure and spicy, with a beam of ripe pear, melon, nutmeg and cedar flavors. Full-bodied and gaining on the finish. Drink now through 2014.

- James Laube

November 04, 2011
Ken's Wine Guide
91 Points (Very Good)
     

2008 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

slightly opaque dark ruby colored opens with a mild musty blackberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, and smooth. The flavor profile is a very tasty boysenberry jam with notes of blackberry and a hint of cranberry and black pepper. The finish is dry and its moderate tannins are slightly prolonged. Pair this food friendly Cab Franc with grilled pork tenderloin with a mushroom risotto.

- Ken Hoggins

November 01, 2011
97 Points / Cellar Selection
     

2008 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Buying Guide"

A tremendous wine that shows how Merryvale is absolutely at the top of its game. Impeccable in structure, with refined tannins that are soft and firm at the same time, and a fine cut of acidity. entirely dry, the Cabernet Sauvignon-based blend is awesome in blackberry, cherry, cassis and oak flavors, with complexities of anise, soy sauce, grilled meats and minerals. Beyond the particulars, it just feels dramatic and rich in the mouth. A great wine that should develop in the bottle over the next decade. Cellar Selection.

- Steve Heimoff

November 01, 2011
#5 Wine of The Top 100 of 2011
     

2008 'Profile', Napa Valley

"The Top 100 Edition"

4 Napa Cab Cellar Selection Picks, All Rated 95+!

- Steve Heimoff

October 01, 2011
92 Points
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Carneros

Wonderfully fragrant and sporting a lovely mix of ripe cherries, minerals and sympathetic oak spice in the nose, this very well-crafted offering is firm and fruity and very well-balanced with a nice sense of polish already apparent. More stylish than sturdy, and long on the palate,it is bound to show further layering and nuance if its early charms can be ignored, but waiting might be a task that does not come easy.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

October 01, 2011
92 Points
     

2009 Chardonnay, Carneros

Plenty of well-ripened, apple-like Chardonnay fruit is in place to balance the ample oak that is to be found at every point here, and the two work together to make for a deep and wonderfully rich wine. While a fairly big wine, it is also a nicely constructed one with a solid spine of structural acidity warding off any sense of heaviness. It is long and layered and reveals a little more with each sip, and it is destined for better if its plentiful pleasures can be ignored for a few years.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

October 01, 2011
90 Points
     

2009 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

Nicely focused, juicy, fruity, slightly frontal and candied but also somewhat toasty and rich with youthful vitality sticking out all over, this spry, slightly rounded wine carries its likeable apple and pear fruit comfortably from front to back and into its tangy finish. We could enjoy this wine as an aperitif or with picnic basket chicken, yet is has the depth to stand up to grilled salmon fillets for those who like a touch of richness with their fleshy fish preparations. At its inviting price, it is one to remember.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

September 07, 2011
88 Points
     

2008 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Ripe and fruity, this complex red displays attractive plum, cherry and berry flavors. Drink now through 2019.

- James Laube

August 31, 2011
88 Points
     

2010 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Exceedingly juicy, showing a lip-smacking acidity that nicely frames the flavors of Meyer lemon, green apple, melon and peach. This smooth-bodied white gains momentum on the finish. Drink now.

- MaryAnn Worobiec

August 15, 2011
92 Points
     

2008 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

"15 Outstanding California Cabernets"

New reviews of Napa Valley Cabernets from 2008, a difficult vintage proving to be potentially excellent...

MERRYVALE Cabernet Franc Napa Valley 2008 Score: 92
"Rich and expressive, with deep, dense, pure dried currant, tobacco leaf and cigar box scents. The spice and smokiness of Cabernet Franc mixed with berry and sage touches give this a distinctive range of flavors. Drink now through 2020."

- James Laube

August 15, 2011
92 Points
     

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"15 Outstanding California Cabernets"

New reviews of Napa Valley Cabernets from 2008, a difficult vintage proving to be potentially excellent...


MERRYVALE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008 Score: 92
"Perfumed floral, ripe blackberry and wild berry flavors are firm and structured, deep and persistent, more intriguing as they evolve on the palate. Ends with layers of dark berry fruit. Drink now through 2020."

- James Laube

August 01, 2011
96 Points
     

2008 'Profile', Napa Valley

This every expressive and highly extracted young wine is no shrinking violet, but it is big without being too big, and it takes its cues from lavish fruit more than from runaway ripeness. While it stints not at all in terms of very sweet oak, its themes of black currants, olives and loamy soils are always in the fore. Its considerable tannins are so finely fit that it is likely to trick some impatient Cabernet fans into serving it soon, but this is one for the cellar and pulling its cork in fewer than five or six years would be a genuine shame.

- Charles Olken and Stephen Eliot

July 31, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
RECOMMENDED
     

2009 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"The Chronicle Recommends: Napa Chardonnay"

Starmont is working in a surprisingly traditional (partial barrel fermentation, full malolactic fermentation) oeuvre, but the result is fresh, herb accented and fulfilling: basil and lemon rind, with a riper melon-skin touch. Just creamy enough to offer some vanilla pleasure, but it brims with fresh fruit.

- Jon Bonné

July 15, 2011
Pinot Report
92 Points & Smart Buy!
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Carneros

Medium ruby color; ripe, bright red cherry flavors with clove and cinnamon notes; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Forward, delicious Pinot that’s drinking really well now.

- Greg Walter

July 15, 2011
Pinot Report
94 Points
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

Medium-deep ruby color; complex, tight, black cherry, spice and anise aromas; deep, complex black cherry flavors with lots of interesting spice and herbal notes; silky texture; good structure and balance; long finish. Complex, deep, layered Pinot that needs a little time to open up. Will reward your patience.

- Greg Walter

July 01, 2011
89 Points
     

2001 'Profile', Napa Valley

"2001 Vintage Retrospective Tasting"

The 2001 Profile is an excellent wine, but recent vintages are even stronger. The fully mature 2001, a blend of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 27% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, exhibits a dense plum/garnet color as well as a sweet perfume of tobacco leaf, incense, roasted herbs, and red and black currants. Good opulence and a lush texture result in an attractive attack and mid-palate. Then the wine softens and seems fully mature. However, in a cold cellar it will last another 7-10 years.

- Robert Parker

June 28, 2011
www.goodlifeguy.com
WINE OF THE WEEK
     

2009 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"The Good Life Guy Wine of the Week"

The fruit for Starmont Chardonnay is grown in our favorite cooler areas of the Napa Valley, including Oak Knoll District and Carneros, where the maritime influence keeps the focus on crisp, vibrant fruit. The fruit was carefully sorted and whole cluster pressed to preserve freshness. The light oak treatment gives a round mouth feel and improved complexity, while highlighting the fruit driven focus of the wine. The wine shows intense aromas of mandarin orange, fresh pear, melon, apple butter, spice and honey. The mouthfeel is soft, round and fleshy with a long layered finish.

- Guy Bower

June 26, 2011
San Francisco Chronicle
RECOMMENDED
     

2010 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc: Chronicle recommends"

"This offshoot of Merryvale reaches up and down the length of the valley for fruit to balance out the flavors in this larger-production bottling. Fermented in a mix of mostly older oak and steel, it comes out a touch edgy and tart. But the cat's-business scents are a shout-out to New Zealand fans, backed up by pretty snap pea and tart peach. Zesty and fulfilling."

- Jon Bonné

June 24, 2011
www.SteveHeimoff.com (wine blog)
     

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Top 10 Wines of the Week"

Ripe, balanced and delicious.

- Steve Heimoff

May 12, 2011
Napa Valley Register & St. Helena Star
RECOMMENDED
     

2008 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"At Merryvale, it's more than wine and cheese"

"The grapes for this wine come partly from the Stanly Ranch and partly from high-altitude vineyards, giving the wine a nice freshness. The wine is aged in French oak barrels and has ripe Asian pear, rich buttered nuts, brown sugar and cinnamon aromas and flavors.

"Merryvale’s sommelier pairs this with ageworthy cheese that brings out the freshness and fruit flavors of the wines, like Cabot Clothbound."

- David Stoneberg

May 12, 2011
Napa Valley Register & St. Helena Star
RECOMMENDED
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"At Merryvale, it's more than wine and cheese"

"An incredible wine for the price, this pinot noir has lots of red and black cherry and earthy aromas, with beautiful dark fruit, rich vanilla and cinnamon flavors.

"Merryvale’s sommelier pairs this with an earthy cheese like Challerhocker."

- David Stoneberg

April 21, 2011
2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2009 Chardonnay, Carneros

- Tasting Panel

April 21, 2011
2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Our 2007 Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, narrowly missed out on best overall Cabernet Sauvignon, finishing #2.

- Tasting Panel

April 21, 2011
2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Carneros

- Tasting Panel

April 21, 2011
2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2007 Merlot, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

April 21, 2011
2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2009 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

April 21, 2011
2011 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2008 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

April 01, 2011
Quarterly Review of Wines
     

2008 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Best of the Best California Chardonnay"

“Elegantly cast buttered toast and lemon flavors.”

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2011
2011 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
Best New World Chardonnay / Best of Varietal / Best of Class / Platinum Medal
     

2009 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"2011 Competition Results"

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2011
2011 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
Best New World Merlot / Best of Varietal / Best of Class / Platinum Medal
     

2007 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"2011 Competition Results"

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2011
2011 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2009 Chardonnay, Carneros

"2011 Competition Results"

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2011
2011 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"2011 Competition Results"

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2011
2011 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"2011 Competition Results"

- Tasting Panel

March 04, 2011
The Vancouver Sun
RECOMMENDED
     

2008 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Auction bid signals better times ahead"

In preparation for Friday’s Arts Club California Wine Fair (see details on this page) we explore the latest in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon in government wine shops.

Starmont Chardonnay 2008 is a stand-alone brand owned by Merryvale Winery that comes off three relatively cool Napa Valley vineyard sites. The fruit is whole cluster pressed before its 50-50 mix of stainless steel fermented and barrel fermented fruit is aged a mere eight months in only 15-per-cent new oak. It’s a less-is-more Chardonnay from Napa swimming in bright pear/apple/nectarine fruit and it is a great addition to any wine list or evening at home. Roasted chicken stuffed with onions and rosemary would be an ideal match.

- Anthony Gismondi

March 01, 2011
93 Points
     

2007 Oakville Grade Red Wine

"Wine Buying Guide"

A beautiful, elegant and dramatic blend for drinking now and over the next 6–10 years. Based on Cabernet, and sourced from vineyards including Beckstoffer ToKalon and Showket, it’s flashy in blackberry, blueberry and cassis flavors, with gorgeous, refined tannins. It’s throwing some tannins, so you might want to give it a proper decant.

- Steve Heimoff

March 01, 2011
93 Points
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Wine Buying Guide"

Just delicious, this wine shows its pedigree from some of the best vineyards in the valley, including Merryvale’s St. Helena estate. Dry and rich in firm but refined tannins, it offers elaborate flavors of blackberries, blueberries and cherries, while 70% new oak adds layers of buttered toast and caramel. Great for drinking now with the best meats and cheeses you can find.

- Steve Heimoff

March 01, 2011
92 Points
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

"Wine Buying Guide"

A tremendous wine, satisfying in youth, but this should also age for a while. Made with just 2% Merlot, it’s impressive in young Cabernet blackberry and cassis flavors, liberally oaked and sweetly pure in the finish. The tannins are so soft, yet so refined. Should develop through the decade, but if you drink it now, give it a good decant.

- Steve Heimoff

March 01, 2011
92 Points
     

2007 Merlot, Napa Valley

"Wine Buying Guide"

A dry, classy Merlot that will develop bottle complexity for a few years. There are beautiful tannins on this well-made wine; if you drink it now, decant to let it breathe, soften and allow the cherry, red currant, dried herb and oak flavors to emerge.

- Steve Heimoff

March 01, 2011
91 Points - Cellar Selection
     

2007 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Wine Buying Guide"

...It’s quite rich in blackberries and currants but the tannins are considerable, and 90% new oak buries the fruit under a cloak of char and wood tannins. Feels rustic, but obviously pedigreed and extremely ageable. The score could soar over the next 6–9 years as the wine develops in the bottle.

- Steve Heimoff

March 01, 2011
93 Points
     

2008 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

“Silhouette is Merryvale’s small-production best of barrels blend from the winery’s various vineyards. The ’08 is a success, showing brisk acidity and new oak and yeast flavors and a creamy texture framing ripe pineapple, pear and mineral flavors. It’s an elegant wine that shouldn’t be served too cold.”

- Steve Heimoff

February 24, 2011
St. Helena Star
WINE OF THE WEEK
     

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Sometimes, life calls for a time-out. Vacations don’t always come fast enough, but even a few hours away can be incredibly rejuvenating. Loving wine and being a foodie, I found a perfect respite in a wine and cheese tasting at Merryvale Vineyards.

Shawn Dougherty, the winery’s sommelier and food and wine educator, was trained at the French Culinary Institute. Joining him, you taste through four of Merryvale’s wines, including their acclaimed Silhouette Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, with cheeses from around the world, introducing pairing concepts which you can apply at home. The tasting itself takes place inside of a large, wooden cask. The $45 charge covers the educational session with wine and cheese.

The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Juliana Vineyards ($26) was served at the tasting. It is a fabulous wine — refreshing, fruity, yet with depth and complexity from four months aging in French oak.

- Catherine Seda

January 10, 2011
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2009 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Results are just in from the SF Chron Wine Competition, which is now the largest competition of domestic wines at over 5,000 entries.

- Tasting Panel

January 10, 2011
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2008 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Results are just in from the SF Chron Wine Competition, which is now the largest competition of domestic wines at over 5,000 entries.

- Tasting Panel

January 10, 2011
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2009 Chardonnay, Carneros

Results are just in from the SF Chron Wine Competition, which is now the largest competition of domestic wines at over 5,000 entries.

- Tasting Panel

January 10, 2011
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2009 Pinot Noir, Carneros

Results are just in from the SF Chron Wine Competition, which is now the largest competition of domestic wines at over 5,000 entries.

- Tasting Panel

January 10, 2011
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2007 Merlot, Napa Valley

Results are just in from the SF Chron Wine Competition, which is now the largest competition of domestic wines at over 5,000 entries.

- Tasting Panel

January 10, 2011
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Results are just in from the SF Chron Wine Competition, which is now the largest competition of domestic wines at over 5,000 entries.

- Tasting Panel

January 10, 2011
2011 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL / BEST OF CLASS
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine

Results are just in from the SF Chron Wine Competition, which is now the largest competition of domestic wines at over 5,000 entries.

- Tasting Panel

December 30, 2010
St. Helena Star
Tied for First Place
     

2007 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Top 6 Flagship Cabs"

- Tasting Panel

December 23, 2010
91 Points
     

2008 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

The 2008 Cabernet Franc possesses an impressively hued dark purple color as well as aromas of wild blueberries, mountain white flowers and a touch of oak. Silky textured and medium to full-bodied with a beautiful intensity, but no heaviness, this pure, ripe effort should evolve for 12-15 years.

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2010
The Wine Advovate
94 Points
     

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint Helena Estate, Napa Valley

The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint Helena, boasts an inky/purple color as well as a boatload of creme de cassis, licorice, blackberry and floral aromas with a hint of wood in the background, and a full-bodied, voluptuously textured mouthfeel. This brilliant Cabernet should drink well for two decades or more.

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2010
96 Points
     

2008 'Profile', Napa Valley

The flagship red wine, the 2008 Profile is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec and 1% Cabernet Franc. Dusty, loamy soil aromas intermixed with graphite, blueberry, blackberry, charcoal and camphor jump from the glass of this complex, inky/purple-colored offering. Full-bodied and backward with undeniable potential, this yound red classic Napa blend of Bordeaux grapes should hit its stride in 4-5 years and last for three decades. A compelling wine, it is further evidence of the remarkable progress Merryvale has made over the last decade. Moreover, it is the finest wine they have ever produced.

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2010
89 Points
     

2008 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The red wine portfolio includes an excellent value, the 2008 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, which packs a lot of flavor and intensity for its price. This dense ruby/purple-colored Cabernet reveals plenty of cassis, cedar, licorice and spice notes. It is a delicious, medium-bodied wine with supple tannins and a long finish. Drink it over the next decade.

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2010
90 Points
     

2008 Merlot, Napa Valley

The 2008 Merlot exhibits smoky espresso roast notes intermixed with notions of cocoa, chocolate and berry fruit. A good Merlot by Napa standards, this fleshy, succulent wine should drink nicely for 7-8 years.

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2010
92 Points
     

2008 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

“Merryvale's flagship white is their 2008 Chardonnay Silhouette. This unfiltered cuvee, always one of the finest from Napa Valley, exhibits leesy, brioche notes inter-mixed with honeysuckle, orange blossom, poached pear and citrus. The complex aromatics are followed on the palate by a rich, minimally oaked, delicious, full-bodied, top-class Chardonnay that should drink well for 3-5 years.”

- Robert Parker

December 16, 2010
KensWineGuide.com
94 Points
     

2007 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Cabs for the Holidays!"

The opaque and dark purple colored Cab based blend opens with a ripe blackberry bouquet with a hint of smoky oak. On the palate, this wine is full bodied, slightly acidic, and displays a very lush mouthfeel. The flavor profile is a spicy blackberry and oak blend. We also detected some rich dark chocolate. The finish is dry and its dusty tannins are nicely extended. The panel suggested pairing this wine with a well marbled ribeye.

- Ken Hoggins

December 08, 2010
The Times Tribune, Scranton, PA
Above Average
     

2006 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"Winestein: Merlot sells well despite critics for good reason"

Merlot is one of the most pilloried wine varieties, but still one of the most popular.

In some circles, people mock merlot, but a recent Nielsen survey confirmed its popularity as the second-best-selling red wine in the United States.

The perfumey, Starmont Merryvale 2006 Napa Valley has character of blueberry, black plum, chocolate with a smooth cedar and spice finish.

- David Falchek

December 01, 2010
Wine & Spirits Magazine
90 Points
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

"Year's Best American Cabernet Sauvignons"

Firm and juicy, this cab¬ernet hides any flavor detail behind black tannin. But rather than a somber feeling, the overall impression it leaves is pleasing, a fresh and joyous red to decant for roast beef or to cellar for a holiday feast in the years to come.

December 01, 2010
90 Points
     

2007 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Pretty good price for a Cabernet this elegant and rich. Starmont is a kind of second label to the excellent producer, Merryvale, and this ’07 shows a fine pedigree, as well as the general quality of the vintage. It’s dry and balanced, with complex blackberry, currant and oak flavors. Drink now – 2013.

- Steve Heimoff

December 01, 2010
88 Points
     

2007 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

A dry, gentle Merlot, likeable for its rich tannic structure and complex flavors. Shows berry, cherry, currant, dark chocolate and sandalwood flavors, with a clean, spicy finish. Drink now with a nice grilled steak, brushed with garlic butter and plenty of pepper.

- Steve Heimoff

November 18, 2010
kenswineguide.com
Very Good (89 Points)
     

2007 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Ken's Wine Guide"

This dark purple colored wine opens with a dried cranberry bouquet with a hint of red currant and old oak. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, easy to drink, and fruit forward. The flavor profile is a ripe plum with notes of rhubarb and integrated oak. There is a touch of anise and a dash of black pepper as well. The finish is very dry and its surprisingly big tannins stick around for quite a while. I would pair this juicy Cab with a thick of cut of prime rib.

- Ken and the Tasting Panel

November 17, 2010
KRSH - The Krush 95.9FM
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine

"Thanksgiving Wine Picks!"

Merryvale Antigua is the featured dessert selection for Thanksgiving Wine Picks!

- Ziggy, the Wine Gal

November 15, 2010
WineSpectator.com
90 POINTS
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Clone Six

"A Napa Cabernet from the Cellar"

I did some cellar cleaning the other day, moving in a few bottles and poking into bins to see whether I had lost track of any wines. For years, my cellar has mostly consisted of wines in ones and twos; I don’t buy cases like I used to.

I came across a 2001 Merryvale Rutherford Beckstoffer Clone Six bottle, which I had pulled out and stood up some time ago. Having nothing else in mind to pour for some friends who stopped by to visit, I uncorked it, decanted it (there was just a little sediment) and caught it in a fine drinking mode.

Very impressive and striking for its elegance and complexity, this Cabernet had an array of red and black licorice that added a dimension to the loamy earth, dried currant, roasted herb, mineral and cedar profile. The richness of the earth and black olive shone through in this wine, ending with tannins that give the flavors traction. On the finish, it deepened in complexity, holding true to its Rutherford roots—a wine of excellent balance, range of flavor, focus and length. It should drink well for another five to eight years. 90 points, non-blind.

- James Laube

November 04, 2010
Pinot Report
93 POINTS - SMART BUY!
     

2008 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Bright and tasty..."
Medium ruby color; forward cherry and spice aromas with some clove notes; rich. ripe, bright red cherry flavors with spice and clove notes; silky texture; sweet oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Bright, spicy flavors carry this really tasty Pinot -- serve it with a lighter meal off the grill.

- Greg Walters

November 01, 2010
Food Arts Magazine
90 POINTS - HIGHLY RECOMMENDED
     

2008 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Tasting Notes"

Utilizing fruit from the cooler Oak Knoll District and Carneros, this white is fresh, clean, and vibrant, offering pretty citrus fruit, peach, and ripe apple flavors coupled with a deft touch of French oak, adding to the rounded mouthfeel, as the generous fruit meets hints of spice and toast on the medium finish.

- Tasting Panel

October 25, 2010
Cooking Light
RECOMMENDED
     

2008 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Which Wines Go Best with Baked Pasta?"

For a relaxed weekend get-together, pair a comfort-food favorite like baked pasta with a nice glass of wine. Find our favorite bottles for four pasta classics.

Chicken Tetrazzini
A classic, creamy version calls for California chardonnay. The grape in general has the ideal rich texture for pasta, but the creamy apple, melon, and pear fruits in West Coast chards love chicken... Try 2008 Starmont Chardonnay by Merryvale Vineyards!

Click here for the recipe from Cooking Light!

- Tasting Panel

October 15, 2010
kenswineguide.com
Very Good+ (90 Points)
     

2007 Merlot, Napa Valley

This opaque and dark purple colored Merlot opens with an attractive black cherry bouquet with a hint of menthol and blueberry. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, well balanced, and suave. The flavor profile is a black cherry and gentle oak blend. There were also notes of black pepper detected. The finish is quite dry and its dusty tannins are slightly prolonged. This Merlot will pair well with a NY strip steak.

- Ken and the Tasting Panel

October 15, 2010
kenswineguide.com
Very Good (89 Points)
     

2007 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

This slightly opaque dark ruby colored Merlot opens with a fragrant spicy black raspberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, balanced, and savory. The flavor profile is a very tasty black raspberry with notes of black currant and gentle oak. The finish is quite dry and its dusty tannins are very sticky and linger for quite a while. This Merlot would pair quite well with barbecue steak tips.

- Ken and the Tasting Panel

October 07, 2010
www.bestcovery.com
Best Pick
     

2008 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Top 5 Chards under $25"

The 2008 Starmont Chardonnay gets its grapes from the Oak Knoll District and Carneros which has a relatively cooler climate than other regions in the Napa Valley. The crisp weather helps give the wine its crisp taste. Merryvale only uses French oak and ages the Chardonnay in it for 8 months this gives the wine its vanilla and nutmeg flavor and adds to its complexity. 2008 Starmont Chardonnay makes an excellent addition to poultry dishes and citrus dressings and will last until 2013.

- Tasting Panel

September 04, 2010
St. Helena Star
RECOMMENDED
     

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Tasting Room Wines, $50 and under"

This is a zesty, fun wine with an intriguing pungency, fresh grass and lemon citrus. Fantastic food wine.

- Tasting Panel

September 04, 2010
St. Helena Star
RECOMMENDED
     

2009 Rosé Wine, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"Tasting Room Wines, $50 and under"

A very good wine with apple, pear and floral aromas with bright citrus fruit and floral on the palate, with a nice weight.

- Tasting Panel

August 30, 2010
92 Points
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"16 Diverse California Cabernets
New reviews of 2007 Cabernets from a wide price range across the Golden State"

Firm, intense and vibrant, with a tight mix of loamy earth, dried currant and berry, sage, anise and cedar. Full-bodied, ending with a streamlined, layered finish. Best from 2012 through 2021.

- James Laube

August 29, 2010
www.kenswineguide.com
Very Good+ (91)
     

2006 Merlot, Napa Valley

"...In search of the perfect bottle of Wine!"

This very dark ruby colored Merlot from Merryvale finished in second place in our recent big blind tasting. It opens with a mild blackberry bouquet with a hint of cinnamon and coffee. On the palate, this wine is medium to full bodied, nicely balanced, and smooth. The flavor profile is a tasty and appealing black raspberry with a touch of black pepper. The panel also detected some dark chocolate and gentle oak which added to the wines complexity. The finish is dry and its moderate dusty oak tannins are nicely prolonged. The panel felt this elegant Merlot would be a good pairing with Steak Diane. Enjoy!

- Ken's Wine Guide Tasting Panel

August 26, 2010
Ken's Wine Guide
VERY GOOD (89)
     

2008 Chardonnay, Carneros

This yellow colored Chard opens with a mild green apple bouquet with a hint of yeast in the background. On the palate, this wine is full bodied, balanced, and slightly creamy. The flavor profile is ripe golden delicious apple with notes of vanilla oak and toasted almonds. The finish is dry and lingers nicely. Our mini group thought his would pair well with Orecchiette with chicken, peas, and a thick cream sauce. Enjoy!

- Ken Hoggins, wine writer and blogger

August 23, 2010
92 Points
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Saint Helena Estate, Napa Valley

"13 Napa Valley Cabernets
New reviews of Cabernets from Oakville, Rutherford, Stags Leap and St. Helena"

Exhibits a tight core of dried currant, spice, wild berry and blackberry fruit that's focused, full-bodied, firm and structured, with the flavors gaining on the finish. Ends with a juicy black cherry edge. Drink now through 2018. 396 cases made.

- James Laube

August 02, 2010
93 Points
     

2007 'Profile', Napa Valley

"10 Outstanding California Reds
New reviews of high-end Cabernet-based blends, most
from Napa and all from the spectacular 2007 vintage"

A classy wine that's firm, intense and complex, showing vivid, well-structured blackberry, wild berry and currant fruit, with touches of anise, loamy earth and black licorice. Ends with a lingering mix of berry, cedar and earth touches and tannins that give the flavors traction. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Best from 2011 through 2019. 2,500 cases made.

- James Laube

August 01, 2010
91 Points
     

2008 Pinot Noir, Carneros

This is a very rich, fruity Pinot Noir, so if you like ripeness, you’ll love it. Floods the mouth with cherries, raspberries and strawberries, while 50% new French oak adds even richer notes of vanilla and buttered toast. It’s flamboyant now, and should be opened in the next 3-4 years.

- Steve Heimoff

August 01, 2010
92 Points
     

2008 Chardonnay, Carneros

Rich and opulent, in the California coastal style. The grapes come from some respected Carneros vineyards, including Hyde and Stanly Ranch, and the pedigree shows in the balance of ripeness and acidity. With pineapple, mango, green apple, crème brûlée and buttered toast flavors, it’s just delicious. Great with Dungeness crab and sourdough bread and butter.

- Steve Heimoff

July 31, 2010
90 Points & TOP VALUE
     

2008 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"California Wines for $20 or Less"

At the top of the list is Merryvale’s Starmont Chardonnay, a vibrant wine made at Merryvale’s solar-powered winery in south Napa from a mix of vineyards.

Fresh and vibrant, with a full-bodied mix of tangerine, nectarine, peach and pear flavors that are intense, complex, layered and cleansing. This holds on to its core fruitiness. Drink now through 2013.

- James Laube

June 27, 2010
San Francisco Chronicle
RECOMMENDED
     

2009 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"The Chronicle Recommends: Napa Sauvignon Blanc"

What's been true for a while about Sauvignon Blanc continues to hold: If you take it seriously - but not pretentiously, you can make a very good wine, especially out of Napa Valley grapes. These are, or should be, wines that bask in the potential for ripe fruit.

The problem might be whether that fruit is being grown in too large a crop to make interesting wine. Our tasting revealed too many wines without concentrated flavors. Sauvignon Blanc has always been a young-drinking workhorse, but that's no reason not to spend time and effort to get great fruit, especially in a standout vintage like 2009.

It seemed pricing around $20 was a sweet spot, enough to ensure that the wine is being taken seriously. Even if it's opened on a carefree summer evening, there's no reason for Sauvignon Blanc not to be made with serious intent.

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS INCLUDE:
2009 Starmont Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($18): For a larger label, Starmont uses a surprising amount of barrel fermentation; even so, it keeps its fresh fruit. Full, powerful flavors of nectarine and Meyer lemon are edged by a subtle grassy, stony bite. Juicy and generous, with fruit that carries through.

- Jon Bonné, Wine Editor

June 01, 2010
Quarterly Review of Wines
BEST OF SHOW
     

2007 Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros

"Best of the Best California Chardonnays"

Deep, rich, resonant, well-knit, pear, spice and toasted oak flavors.
BEST OF SHOW

- Tasting Panel

May 23, 2010
The San Francisco Chronicle
RECOMMENDED
     

2007 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"The Chronicle Recommends: Napa Valley Cabernet"

Napa's biggest strength has always been its nearly magic ability to grow Cabernet. If we're moving toward wines that celebrate that, while shedding the winemaking fat they've gained in recent years, fantastic. I'm not sure 2007 fully reflects that transition, but it offers some promising hints...

including... 2007 Starmont Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
A lighter touch with new oak brings out deeply extracted black cherry flavors and solid food-friendly tannins, edged by alluring olive and coffee accents that round out the black-fruit scents. Drink it young but give it some air.

- Jon Bonné, Wine Editor

April 01, 2010
Wine & Spirits Magazine
#25 Most Popular Cabernet Sauvignon
     

2007 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"21st Annual Restaurant Poll / 50 Most Popular Wines"

- Tasting Panel

April 01, 2010
St. Helena Star
Panelists' Favorite
     

2008 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Great Debate Over Napa Valley Pinots"

First in its flight:
Merryvale Vineyards Pinot Noir Carneros 2008 ($35) is full of smoky, wild strawberries with caramel and herb. Their website, www.merryvale.com, has a great list of foods to enjoy with their wines. Just click on a wine choice, choose appetizer, entrée, or another option, and numerous, detailed recipes appear. Very nice.

- Catherine Seda and Tasting Panel

March 31, 2010
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2007 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2010
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2009 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2010
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2008 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2010
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2008 Chardonnay, Carneros

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2010
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2008 Pinot Noir, Carneros

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2010
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

March 31, 2010
2010 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2007 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

- Tasting Panel

March 22, 2010
The Amateur Gastronomer Blog
A Hidden Treasure
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine

"AG PICK: Merryvale Antigua Dessert Wine"

One of the best things is discovering a wine that you forgot was in your collection. It’s like finding a hidden treasure that you never knew you buried.

I had that experience this weekend with Merryvale Antigua dessert wine. I purchased a few bottles several years ago and somehow my last remaining bottle had migrated to the back of my liquor cabinet, hiding behind bottles of rum, scotch and tequila that I haven’t looked at in months, if not longer.

I became a fan of Merryvale wines after drinking a bottle of their Starmont Merlot on my 22nd birthday. A couple of years later, it was the first winery I visited during my first trip to Napa.

I remember that first visit because it’s when I tasted the Antigua dessert wine. Relatively new to fortified wines, I was intrigued by the Antigua’s flavors and complexity. I asked for a second taste before I finished my first one.
The Antigua is made from Muscat de Frontignan and fortified with the addition of California brandy. The wine is aged an average of 11 years in French oak, which enhances the flavor and helps to give the wine its beautiful amber-gold color.

Your first sniff of the Antigua welcomes you in with enticing aromas of orange peel and almond that continue to develop in your mouth. These flavors are rounded out with hazelnut, caramel and a slight hint of milk chocolate-covered espresso beans on the warm and lingering finish. The rich and thick mouthfeel will leave you satisfied, yet craving another sip.

The Antigua is delicious on its own or it can be served with cheese or desserts ranging from crème brûlée to chocolate cake.

- Robin Austin, Food & Wine Blogger

March 22, 2010
www.wine-wench.com
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Help! I've drawn a blanc! (Sauvignon Blanc)"

Complex, balanced and lovely – like Diana Krall singing Tom Waits’ “Temptation.” Aromas of lemon peel, alfalfa hay, melon and mineral notes harmonize perfectly. These aromas continue as flavors with good intensity in the luscious mouth and on through the finish.

- Sue Straight, aka "The Wine Wench"

February 01, 2010
89 Points
     

2006 Late Harvest Riesling

"California Dessert Wines"

A whiff of aromatic petrol lets you know this is Riesling, with ripe, intense and vibrant peach, lemon, apricot and yellow raisin flavors. Wonderfully sweet and concentrated, with a juicy acidity running through the core. Drink now through 2014. 600 cases made.

- MaryAnn Worobiec

January 24, 2010
www.wine-wench.com
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Cabernet Sauvignons Priced $20-$30"

Five Stars
Panel Favorite!

"One sniff and you know you’re drinking a classic Cab! Black cherry, cassis, mocha and baking spices delight the nose and carry on as flavors in the seductively smooth mouth."

- Sue Straight, aka

January 13, 2010
BiggerThanYourHead.net
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

"50 Great Wines of 2009"

"To arrive at the “50 Great Wines of 2009,” I went back through all the posts for last year, read all the reviews, made notes, looked again, made more notes, thought hard, and came up with a list of candidates...

"Merryvale Merlot 2005, Napa Valley. Excellent."

- Fredric Koeppel

January 11, 2010
2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
DOUBLE GOLD /
BEST OF CLASS /
JUDGES' CHOICE
     

2008 Pinot Noir, Carneros

At 4,913 entries, this competition continues to be the largest competition of domestic wines in the country, and it is one of the largest wine competitions in the world.

- Tasting Panel

January 11, 2010
2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2007 Chardonnay, Carneros

At 4,913 entries, this competition continues to be the largest competition of domestic wines in the country, and it is one of the largest wine competitions in the world.

- Tasting Panel

January 11, 2010
2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2006 Merlot, Napa Valley

At 4,913 entries, this competition continues to be the largest competition of domestic wines in the country, and it is one of the largest wine competitions in the world.

- Tasting Panel

January 11, 2010
2010 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

At 4,913 entries, this competition continues to be the largest competition of domestic wines in the country, and it is one of the largest wine competitions in the world.

- Tasting Panel

January 09, 2010
www.rjwine.com/blog
JUDGES' CHOICE
WINNERS
     

2008 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"2010 SF Chronicle Wine Competition Big Winners"

"This morning I visited with Henry Tennenbaum of KRON-TV 4. During our segment we sprinted through a tasting of these four Judges’ Choice Winners. My notes are just a brief snapshot from memory so pick up a bottle of each yourself and luxuriate in a slower pace over dinner to gain the full experience.

Merryvale, Carneros, Pinot Noir 2008 "This is truly an elegant Pinot with plenty of cherry fruit and an enhancing kiss of vanilla. The wine was aged in French oak for 12 months and 37% of the wood was new."

- Ray Johnson

December 23, 2009
91 Points
     

2007 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"The most complex white wine is the 2007 Chardonnay Silhouette. It reveals brioche, roasted pear and apple notes intermixed with notions of hazelnuts and white peaches. This big, but elegant, pure Chardonnay possesses a fleshy texture, very good acidity, and a rich, full-bodied finish. Consume it over the next 4-5 years or longer.

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
90 Points
     

2006 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"The 2006 Profile (82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc) is a beauty. The sweet, ripe tannins nicely frame this large-scaled, full-bodied wine. Its opaque ruby/purple color is followed by a fragrant bouquet of tobacco leaf, spice box, white chocolate, black currants, and plums. Deep, full-bodied, expansive, and savory, it will be even better after several more years of bottle age, and should easily last for two decades or more.

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
88 Points
     

2006 Merlot, Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"A sleeper of the vintage, the 2006 Merlot (90% Merlot and the rest Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Sauvignon) offers smoky, charcoal, plum, licorice, currant, and berry notes as well as a soft, seductive texture, medium to full body, and a delicious, forward fruit character. It should drink well for 10-12 years.

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
89+ Points
     

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"A blend of 79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, and the rest Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa reveals abundant aromas and flavors of cassis, new saddle leather, spice box, and licorice. Robust but sweet tannins, and impressive concentration and length suggest it will drink well for 10-12 years.

"This is another sleeper of the vintage...

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
90+ Points
     

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"Another winner is the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa which includes 1% Cabernet Franc. It possesses abundant notes of creme de cassis intermixed with a floral underpinning and subtle oak in the background. Rich and full-bodied with a burning ember/smoky component that adds character to the red and black fruits that dominate the wine, this beauty should drink well for 15+ years.

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
88 Points
     

2007 Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"The 2007 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard, which exhibits aromas and flavors of white peaches, pears, nectarines, lemon blossom, and subtle oak. With elegance, minerality, medium to full body, and a heady finish, it should drink nicely for 3-4 years.

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
91 Points
     

2007 Merlot, Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"An impressive sleeper of the vintage, the 2007 Merlot is a blend of 75% Merlot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Cabernet Franc. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by a big, sweet kiss of charcoal, black currants, black cherries, coffee, mocha, spice box, licorice, and a hint of cocoa. Pure, dense, medium to full-bodied, lush, and seductive, this stunning Merlot should continue to drink well for 12-15 years.

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
94+ Points
     

2007 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"Another big-time winner, the 2007 Profile (60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 6% Petit Verdot, and 4% Malbec) may be the finest wine I have ever tasted from Merryvale. It exhibits an opaque purple color along with classic tobacco leaf, black currant, spicy oak, chocolate, licorice, and graphite characteristics, a big, full-bodied mouthfeel, and tremendous depth, persistence, and length. This proprietary red should continue to put on weight, and last for 15-20 or more years. Very impressive!

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 23, 2009
90 Points
     

2007 Cabernet Franc, Napa Valley

"Robert Parker Reviews Merryvale"

"A perfect example of why more Napa wineries should showcase Cabernet Franc is Merryvale’s 2007 Cabernet Franc. Composed of 78% Cabernet Franc and the rest mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Petit Verdot and Merlot, it boasts plenty of blue fruit and floral notes intermixed with spice box and forest floor. This dark ruby/purple-hued, fragrant, medium-bodied Cabernet Franc reveals a terrific texture, a lush mouthfeel, and impressive intensity without a lot of weight or hard tannins. Enjoy this beauty over the next 10-15 years.

"This is an impressive group of wines from Merryvale Vineyards, a winery whose offerings I have not tasted for many years."

- Robert Parker

December 20, 2009
90 Points
     

2007 Syrah, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"From WineSpectator.com..."

Bold, ripe, meaty and minty, this is rich, fleshy and full-bodied, at points turning subtle and smooth, gaining complexity and nuance on the finish. Drink now through 2015. 316 cases made.

- James Laube

December 20, 2009
93 Points
     

2007 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"From WineSpectator.com..."

This impressive wine is intense and firm, tight and full bodied, with rich fig, melon, toasted marshmallow and citrus notes that provide a complex range of flavors and compelling depth. Drink now through 2014. 412 cases made.

- James Laube

December 18, 2009
Wilfred Wong's Facebook Page
Best Wine
     

2007 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Just tasted 30 ultra premium Cabernets..."

...best wine was the 2007 Merryvale Profile... incredible range of flavors and balance!

- Wilfred Wong

December 07, 2009
The Amateur Gastronomer
RECOMMENDED
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"It's Time For Wine"

Lots of tropicality with a creamy body and finish. Excellent price.

- Monty and Sara Preiser, Wine Writers

December 07, 2009
The Amateur Gastronomer
RECOMMENDED
     

2007 Chardonnay, Carneros

"It's Time For Wine"

Aged for 14 months in French oak, the pedigree of this big white does not disappoint: Hyde and Stanly Ranch vineyards.

- Monty and Sara Preiser, Wine Writers

December 07, 2009
The Amateur Gastronomer
RECOMMENDED
     

2007 Syrah, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"It's Time For Wine"

Co-fermented with whole cluster Viognier (ultimately 20% of the blend), this wine has nice body amid a nose of fresh flowers and a spicy, peppery finish. Another good bargain from outstanding vineyards (Hudson and Stanly Ranch).

- Monty and Sara Preiser, Wine Writers

December 01, 2009
91 Points
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Best of the Year Issue"

“Does a good job at capturing Pinot’s silky texture and the earthy, mushroomy notes that provide a grounding to the ripe red cherries and cola. Oak adds the perfect touch of smoky vanilla and spicy sandalwood. A lovely wine, and should develop nuance in the bottle through 2013.”

- Steve Heimoff

December 01, 2009
94 Points
     

2006 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Best of the Year Issue"

“Profile has been an important, but sometimes overlooked, member of the Napa Valley pantheon for many years, and their ’06 shows why. It’s a rich, complex and smooth wine. Packed with blackberry, cassis and smoky, new oak flavors, it shows a firm structure of tannins and acidity. Beautiful now with a grilled steak, and should age well for at least a decade.”

- Steve Heimoff

December 01, 2009
92 Points
     

2007 Chardonnay, Carneros

"Best of the Year Issue"

A good, rich, oaky Chardonnay, with intense fruit concentration and elaborate winemaking technique. Shows powerful pineapple, papaya, nectarine and sweet vanilla flavors, with a grounding minerality and adequate acidity for balance.”

- Steve Heimoff

October 15, 2009
PinotReport
93 Points
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Make Room in the Cellar!"

"Medium-deep ruby color; deep, complex, black cherry aromas with some herbal notes; deep, rich, complex black cherry flavors with earthy notes and some sweet oak; good structure and balance; long finish. Very deep and complex Pinot that needs time to open up in the glass and also some patience in the cellar."

- Gregory Walter

October 15, 2009
PinotReport
88 Points
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"Smart Buy!"

"Medium-deep ruby color; deep, tight, earthy, dark cherry aromas; deep, rich black cherry flavors with toasty oak and earthy notes; lingering finish. Deep, dark cherry flavors dominate this Pinot and it’s not shy -- toasty oak and just a bit of heat on the finish. Needs time."

- Gregory Walter

October 08, 2009
www.kenswineguide.com
94 Points
     

2006 'Profile', Napa Valley

"This wine was my second favorite wine in a blind tasting of ultra premium 2006 Napa Cabs and blends. It was very dark ruby colored and opens with a pleasant light blueberry and black cherry bouquet. On the palate, this wine was full bodied, very nicely balanced, smooth and showed excellent finesse. The flavor profile is a delightful light blueberry and black cherry blend. There was also some nicely integrated light oak and a dash of black pepper. The finish is pleasantly dry and its fine tannins build up and sail away nicely. This elegant red blend is a very nice reflection of the vintage. I would pair this wine with a filet mignon at my favorite steak house over the next couple of years. Enjoy" - Ken

- Ken Hoggins

October 08, 2009
www.wine-wench.com
     

2006 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"Black fruits (plum, blackberry and black cherry) mingle with brown spices and a hint of fresh green herbs to delight the nose. These aromas continue as flavors in the seamlessly smooth mouth. Long, delicious finish."

- Sue Straight, aka "The Wine Wench"

October 08, 2009
www.wine-wench.com
     

2007 Chardonnay, Carneros

"What a pretty Chardonnay! Perfumed scents of honeysuckle, lemon blossom, marmalade, buttered toast, citrus and fresh green herbs continue as flavors in the creamy, juicy mouth."

- Sue Straight, aka "The Wine Wench"

October 08, 2009
www.wine-wench.com
     

2007 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Caramel apples, melon, vanilla, Myer lemon and a hint of green herbs delight the nose and palate. Big, balanced and luscious in the mouth. Oooh yeah!"

- Sue Straight, aka "The Wine Wench"

October 08, 2009
www.wine-wench.com
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Damn Near Perfect!"

"There’s a famous scene in the movie When Harry Met Sally, where Meg Ryan fakes an orgasm in a restaurant and an older woman says to the waiter 'I’ll have what she’s having.' This Pinot is all that in a glass. You’re gonna want some of this! Enticing aromas of black cherry, plum, spicebox and fresh forest floor lure the taster into a plush, sexy mouthful of yum! Consistent flavors of dark fruits and spice and linger through the finish."

- Sue Straight, aka "The Wine Wench"

August 16, 2009
WineSkinny.com
Recommended
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Merryvale Starmont = Winners Across the Line!"

"Sticking with the big-ish winery theme for a moment longer, I also recently tasted Merryvale’s Starmont line. The winery described this line as 'food friendly, fruit driven' with 'subtle oak nuance' ...with the familiar notched label that is still (in my opinion) one of the best labels going... I think the entire Starmont line is showing pretty darn well at the moment."

Merryvale 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Starmont. Really pretty stuff here, with ripe, aromatic tropical melon laced with vibrant lemon, lime and juicy orange, with a touch of cream on the long, concentrated finish. Ready to drink now.

- Robyn Tinsley

August 16, 2009
WineSkinny.com
Recommended
     

2007 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Merryvale Starmont = Winners Across the Line!"

"Sticking with the big-ish winery theme for a moment longer, I also recently tasted Merryvale’s Starmont line. The winery described this line as 'food friendly, fruit driven' with 'subtle oak nuance.' I’d describe the Starmont Chardonnay as the winery’s bread and butter wine — it has long been a consumer favorite ...with the familiar notched label that is still (in my opinion) one of the best labels going... I think the entire Starmont line is showing pretty darn well at the moment."

Merryvale 2007 Chardonnay Napa Valley Starmont. A touch of bright, lemony citrus accents pretty pear and apple aromas and flavors, with cream, spice and toast accents on the medium-bodied finish. Ready to drink now.

- Robyn Tinsley

August 16, 2009
WineSkinny.com
Recommended
     

2006 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"Merryvale Starmont = Winners Across the Line!"

"Sticking with the big-ish winery theme for a moment longer, I also recently tasted Merryvale’s Starmont line. The winery described this line as 'food friendly, fruit driven' with 'subtle oak nuance' ...with the familiar notched label that is still (in my opinion) one of the best labels going... I think the entire Starmont line is showing pretty darn well at the moment."

Merryvale 2006 Merlot Napa Valley Starmont. Lush, smooth, and bursting with rich black cherry and berry aromas and flavors, picking up spicy dark chocolate and roasted herb notes on the finish, where it shows a bit of grip. Ready to drink now.

- Robyn Tinsley

August 16, 2009
WineSkinny.com
Recommended
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Merryvale Starmont = Winners Across the Line!"

"Sticking with the big-ish winery theme for a moment longer, I also recently tasted Merryvale’s Starmont line. The winery described this line as 'food friendly, fruit driven' with 'subtle oak nuance' ...with the familiar notched label that is still (in my opinion) one of the best labels going... I think the entire Starmont line is showing pretty darn well at the moment."

Merryvale 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Starmont. Impressive wine, especially at this price, offering well-structured, dense blackberry and black currant character layered with earthy vanilla, cedar and toasted sage notes. Long, complex finish. Ready to drink now and over the next four or five years.

- Robyn Tinsley

August 01, 2009
Patterson's Tasting Panel Magazine
90 Points
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Napa Gold"

Bright and fresh; juicy, supple and nicely balanced.

- Anthony Dias Blue

August 01, 2009
88 Points
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Light to medium intensity and very much on point with its green, grassy aromas and its hints of melons, this wine joins the parade of balanced, easy to like wines based on Sauvignon Blanc that populate this issue. It is medium-bodied, nicely balanced and its hints of stones and minerals add an attractive bit of nerve to the medium-length finish.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

July 31, 2009
89 Points
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Ripe, fleshy peach, tangerine, Asian pear and apricot flavors are up front, with great intensity, mouthwatering acidity and a nicely spicy finish. Drink now. 6,620 cases made.

- Maryann Worobiec

July 23, 2009
KCBS Radio & KCBS.com
Recommended
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Narsai David's Food News"

Floral aromas with white spring peaches and honeysuckle lead to a downright delicious wine. Excellent balance...soft and supple, but with a mouthfilling fruitiness that lingers long on the palate. The herbaciousness of sauvignon blanc is beautifully tamed. The balanced acidity makes this a superb wine to serve with grilled fish or chicken. Fine price at $18.00. The acidity is so crisp that it would be fine with oysters.

- Narsai David

July 23, 2009
KCBS Radio & KCBS.com
Recommended
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Narsai David's Food News"

Splendid dusty aromas covering rich ripe berries. That dustiness is a bit toasty for even greater complexity. Rich, almost luscious on the palate. Plenty of tannins to create a fine backnote, but supple enough to enjoy already. The balance of fruit and tannin lingers on the palate. At $27.00, this wine would easily compare with $40-50 wines.

- Narsai David

July 15, 2009
The Wine News
90 Points
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Pale straw hue. Fresh scents of white peach, honeydew and vanilla. Creamy flavors of lemon custard and apple juice. Hints of orange zest in the refreshing close.

- Tasting Panel

July 13, 2009
The Press Democrat
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Wine of the Week: TOP PICK"

A briary cab with firm tannins. Complex with notes of dried cherry, herbs and pepper. Balanced. Long finish.

- Peg Melnik

July 09, 2009
KENSWINEGUIDE.COM BLOG
Recommended
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"WHAT'S HOT"

This very opaque purple colored Cab opens with a fragrant black currant like bouquet with a hint of licorice. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied and balanced with spicy black cherry flavors. This is a very easy to drink cab that displays gentle acidity. The finish is dry and its mild tannins linger slightly. Serve this very good everyday cab with a pulled pork sandwich. Enjoy!

- Ken

June 11, 2009
St. Helena Star
Recommended
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Wine of the Week"

Made by winemakers Sean Foster and Graham Wehmeier, this is a stellar offering with tasty arrays of cherries, red fruits and orange pekoe. Nice balance with freshness and depth, I cannot recommend it more highly and it is priced right — in the low $30s. You might also swing by the winery and try the other new offerings and get your own dose of local lore!

- Stefan Blicker

June 09, 2009
The Press Democrat
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Wine of the Week: Sauvignon Blancs"

OTHERS WORTH KNOWING:
Merryvale’s Starmont, 2008 Napa Valley.
A lively sauvignon blanc with complex flavors. Grassy, with notes of grapefruit and lime. Hint of jalapeño. Great minerality. Long finish.

- Peg Melnik

June 03, 2009
94 Points
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

Perfumed floral, plum jam and black cherry and berry fruit is supple, elegant, focused and balanced. Long and rich, gaining depth, nuance and complexity. Drink now through 2013.

- James Laube

June 02, 2009
90 Points & Editors' Choice
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Tasted alongside some Napa Cabs costing more than twice as much, this showed proud. It’s dry, richly structured and the firm tannins even suggest a few years in the cellar. Won’t disappoint with its wealth of black currants, blackberries, minerals and cedar. Now through 2012. Editors’ Choice.

- Steve Heimoff

June 01, 2009
91 Points
     

2007 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

Oak barrel aging provides sweet wood tannins and lush notes of vanilla and crème brûlée, but the real star of this wine is the fruit. It tastes of pineapples, mandarin oranges, green apples, kiwis, limes and Asian pears. Delicious and mouth-filling, and a bargain at this price.

- Steve Heimoff

June 01, 2009
88 Points
     

2006 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

Quite rich, this Merlot shows real Napa character in the ripe fruit and quality of the tannins. It brims with blackberry, currant, cherry and herb flavors, and feels well-structured and distinguished in the mouth. Best now.

- Steve Heimoff

June 01, 2009
Restaurant Wine
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Recommended Cabs"

Excellent value: a full bodied Cabernet, that is smoothly textured, moderately intense in flavor, and long and a bit oaky on the finish. It tastes of blackberry, black cherry, toast, cedar, and spicy oak.

- Ronn Wiegand

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Merryvale's Wines"

Foster says that the honey that is so apparent in the nose comes from the 2% Semillon in the blend, while the oily texture comes from the fact of lees stirring and the absence of malolactic fermentation. The steely lemon and lime core of the wine comes, obviously from the Sauvignon Blanc. It's a good fit, however you wish to explain it.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2006 Chardonnay, Carneros

"Merryvale's Wines"

Bright oak toast shows itself early, with lemon and clove opening up in mid-palate; the texture is oily and round, with vanillin and dry peach in the finish. Veal in a cream sauce would be nice.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2005 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Merryvale's Wines"

Overall the structure is lean, but there's a lot of apricot fruit and hazelnut oak spiciness packed in there that it's easy to think of this as just another overweight Chardonnay. It is not.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Merryvale's Wines"

Cola and black cherry, with high-toned raspberry highlights; supple in texture and meaty in suggestion -- there's a lovely earthiness in there -- with just a trace of thyme spice in the finish. Sort of brings out the caveperson in you, wanting raw meat, barely seared by the fire.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

"Merryvale's Wines"

Black currant and charcoal, sharply defined, with the slightest hint of menthol, green bean and asparagus; smoke, tobacco and cassis in the finish. Beef Wellington, followed by cigars and Port.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2003 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

"Merryvale's Wines"

Cassis and tobacco that stretch out and relax on your palate like a treasured guest taking off his shoes and getting comfy in front of a big screen and a big game. The wine is soft and broad and, yes, comfy.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Merryvale's Wines"

Peppermint and iodine that reminds one of Phelps' Insignia. Angular and intriguing, with sharply defined blackberry and iodine fruit. A New York steak would serve nicely.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

2004 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Merryvale's Wines"

Blackberry and cassis provide the framework for this solidly-built wine, where hints of violet suggest Pauillac but pomegranate notes remind us that California sunshine plays no small role... Says (winemaker) Sean Foster, "We like this with grilled rib-eye or an herb-encrusted rack of lamb." Well, yeah. Who wouldn't?

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

1999 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Merryvale's Wines"

A bold statement of fleshy-yet-sharp iodine, peppermint and black ink, reinforced with layers of cassis and black currant that settle in for a long ride. This wine is just beginning its maturity, setting a good example why these wines require a judicious bit of time in bottle before the festivities commence.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

June 01, 2009
Quarterly Review of Wines
Recommended
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine

"Merryvale's Wines"

Merryvale's unique dessert wine is a lush blend of fortified Muscat from vintages 1970 through 1983 and 1992 through 1997. Made in solera style (a layered meld of different vintages), the wine is intoxicatingly aromatic, with apricot and orange peel, and the texture is fleshy and thick.

- Richard Paul Hinkle

May 31, 2009
89 Points
     

2006 Chardonnay, Carneros

Ripe and full-bodied, with a complex array of creamy pear, fig and melon flavors, joined by light toasty oak, which unfold to reveal subtle creamy nuances. Drink now through 2011. 1,050 cases made.

- James Laube

May 29, 2009
BiggerThanYourHead.net
RECOMMENDED
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

"Cheese Toast IV: The Merlot Intervention"

"But to be honest, the best merlot I have tasted from California in a considerable time is the Merryvale Vineyards Merlot 2005, Napa Valley, Oak Knoll District. Warm, rich and spicy, this 100 percent merlot wine teems with aspects of flint and shale, lead pencil, hints of black olive and dried rosemary, and roasted black currants, black cherries and plums; I mean, you could kiss this bouquet. There’s lovely purity and intensity here, as the fruit turns more blue in the mouth, as well as more smoky and macerated, and the mineral elements, the chewy tannin, the essential acidity and the polished oak — 18 months in French oak, 37 percent new barrels — weave an impeccable structure that’s dense, burnished and firm. Serious, sensual and entrancing. 2,250 cases. Drink through 2012 to ‘15. Excellent. About $35."

- Fredric Koeppel

May 04, 2009
The Capital / HometownAnnapolis.com
Recommended
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Wine Picks"

Pinot noir is getting pretty pricey nowadays and $35 has become a reasonable cost for a decent one. We like this (Merryvale) pinot noir for its showy black cherry and strawberry flavors. Hints of tea and chocolate.

- Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

May 01, 2009
Patterson's Tasting Panel Magazine
90 Points
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Blue Reviews"

Deep and complex with ripe cherry fruit, fresh and a bright core of acidity; nice notes of earth, spice and oak.

- Anthony Dias Blue

April 29, 2009
91 Points
     

2007 Chardonnay, Carneros

Deliciously complex, with creamy oak wrapped around ripe pear, melon and green apple. Intense, full-bodied, vibrant and focused, with a long, clean finish. Drink now through 2012.

- James Laube

April 19, 2009
calgarysun.com
Recommended
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Family Winery a Sweet Treat"

"For a wine lover, having dinner at Groth Vineyards and Winery is just about as good as it gets.

"Add a few Napa pals such as Merryvale, Signorello and Diamond Creek and a great night turns into a magical evening of scrumptious food paired with exquisite wines.

"The 2005 Merryvale (Cabernet) is a treat because the fruit that's usually destined for the top wine -- Profile -- from this estate went into the regular bottling. No Profile was made in 2005. This is a cab that is less overt than the others with a minty-sage-herb note followed by blackberry fruit and vanilla toast. It's lean on the palate with elegant fruits and minty herbs. Maybe the best match with the beef."

- Rick Vansickle

April 19, 2009
calgarysun.com
Recommended
     

1999 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Family Winery a Sweet Treat"

"For a wine lover, having dinner at Groth Vineyards and Winery is just about as good as it gets.

"Add a few Napa pals such as Merryvale, Signorello and Diamond Creek and a great night turns into a magical evening of scrumptious food paired with exquisite wines.

"As a treat, to end the evening, we enjoyed a Merryvale Profile 1999 that is just now coming into its own. It was paired with three artisanal local cheeses. This is a wine that is chock full of plum, earth, currants, blueberry and cedar notes on the nose. It still has some tannic grip but drinking beautifully -- and a treat with the selection of cheeses.

- Rick Vansickle

April 13, 2009
On The Road with The Grape Guy
Best Chardonnay
     

2007 Chardonnay, Carneros

"The Wines of Note ... Here's my list of top wines from the California Wine Fair ..."

With over 532 wines on display (133 wineries times approximately four wines each) - there is something for everyone ... Here's my list of top wines … when I say “best” they’re the best of what I tried:

Best Chardonnay … a California staple:

Merryvale Vineyards 2007 Carneros Chardonnay - creamy, buttery, toffee with a great mouth feel and deliciously smooth.

- Michael Pinkus, The Grape Guy

April 10, 2009
88 Points
     

2007 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Tasting Highlights: California Chardonnay and Zinfandel
17 wines show that these grapes can still offer good value in the Golden State"

Well-proportioned and medium-weight, with a mix of creamy oak and citrus-laced apple and melon fruit that's pure and focused on the fruit. Drink now through 2012.

- James Laube

April 09, 2009
Maryland Gazette
Recently Tasted and Liked
     

2007 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Reconsider Chardonnay"

Here are a few chardonnays we recently tasted and liked...
Starmont Chardonnay 2007: Bright pear and apple flavors with baked apple spice and mineral notes. Great match for chicken.

- Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

April 08, 2009
ziggythewinegal.com
     

2008 Rosé Wine, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"Top Spring Wine Pick"

Top Wine of Ziggy's Annual Spring Picks!

- Ziggy Eschliman

April 07, 2009
torontosun.com
RECOMMENDED
     

2006 Chardonnay, Carneros

"Chardonnay's time is ripe..."

Here are some of the best that I tasted on a recent trip through Napa-Sonoma...

Merryvale Carneros Chardonnay 2006 -- A creamy and tropical nose with a bit of lemon and spiced pear in behind. The citrus really shows itself on the palate but it's tempered by creamy oak flavours and hazelnuts. It's broad on the palate and a perfect match with grilled seafood.

- Rick Vansickle

April 01, 2009
2009 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
     

2007 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"SILVER MEDAL"

- Tasting Panel

April 01, 2009
2009 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
     

2008 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL"

- Tasting Panel

April 01, 2009
2009 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
     

2006 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"SILVER MEDAL"

- Tasting Panel

April 01, 2009
2009 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
     

2007 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"DOUBLE GOLD MEDAL"

- Tasting Panel

April 01, 2009
2009 Finger Lakes International Wine Competition
     

2006 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"SILVER MEDAL"

- Tasting Panel

March 09, 2009
2009 JERRY D. MEAD’S NEW WORLD INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
     

2005 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"GOLD MEDAL"

- Tasting Panel

February 13, 2009
Fort Worth Business Press
RECOMMENDED
     

2004 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Wines of the World: Port and dark chocolate (and other options)"

If you are not into port with your rich chocolate dessert for Valentines, try a red wine. Fifteen years ago cabernet sauvignon was the first red wine varietal mentioned to go with dark chocolate...

Our suggestions include: Merryvale Starmont Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004 ($27) is quite silky for a cabernet with rich flavors and subtle tannins. Fruit flavors of raspberry and cassis leave a lush, long aftertaste.

- Renie & Sterling Steves

February 06, 2009
The Charleston Gazette
RECOMMENDED
     

2006 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Can Anyone Make a Good Chardonnay?"

Here are some other wineries that seem to produce balanced chardonnay year in and year out: ...Merryvale Starmont...

- John Brown

February 01, 2009
90 Points
     

2006 Chardonnay, Carneros

A lovely Chardonnay marked not only by ripeness and creamy richness, but a stony minerality that gives it a firm structure. The flavors of pineapples, pears and smoky oak are succulent. Don’t chill this one too much.

- Steve Heimoff

January 21, 2009
The Wine News
     

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

"California's Best Wines of 2008"

Outstanding Chardonnays: Merryvale 2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

- Tasting Panel

January 09, 2009
2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Gold Medal
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

This competition is the largest competition of domestic wines in the U.S. with 4,763 entries. The complete competition results can be found by clicking here.

- Tasting Panel

January 09, 2009
2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Gold Medal
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

This competition is the largest competition of domestic wines in the U.S. with 4,763 entries. The complete competition results can be found by clicking here.

- Tasting Panel

January 09, 2009
2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver Medal
     

2006 Chardonnay, Carneros

This competition is the largest competition of domestic wines in the U.S. with 4,763 entries. The complete competition results can be found by clicking here.

- Tasting Panel

January 09, 2009
2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver Medal
     

2005 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

This competition is the largest competition of domestic wines in the U.S. with 4,763 entries. The complete competition results can be found by clicking here.

- Tasting Panel

January 09, 2009
2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Gold Medal /
Best of Class -
Dessert Wine
     

2006 Late Harvest Riesling

This competition is the largest competition of domestic wines in the U.S. with 4,763 entries. The complete competition results can be found by clicking here.

- Tasting Panel

January 01, 2009
TASTED and WWW.TASTEDONLINE.COM
My Top Picks
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Napa Valley: Cabernet, Merlot, and Blends"

The nose shows a lot of dark fruit, cherry, blackcurrant, dark chocolate, the palate is full-bodied and offers a great deal of fruit, ripe tannins and an opulent structure, yet with a fine balance and a long persistence, enjoyable now and a great future potential.

- Andreas Larsson

January 01, 2009
TASTED and WWW.TASTEDONLINE.COM
My Top Picks
     

2004 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Napa Valley: Cabernet, Merlot, and Blends"

Very ripe and intense nose showing off dark berries, mocha and some gentle oak, nice sweetness without being jammy, the palate is very structured with plenty of dark fruit and rigid tannins, it is still young and rather monolithic on the palate, a few more years of ageing would do no harm, fine potential here.

- Andreas Larsson

December 01, 2008
90 Points
     

2004 'Profile', Napa Valley

This complex mix of concentrated black fruits is aided and abetted by scents of soils, graphite and creamy oak in its rich, slightly spicy and still developing aromas. Its supple entry and hints of polish promise even more and better to come with bottle age...

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

December 01, 2008
BestOfNewOrleans.com
RECOMMENDED
     

2006 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Wine of the Week"

Grapes for this wine were harvested from Merryvale's estate vineyards and the noted Stanly Ranch vineyard. The fruit is derived from relatively new Pinot Noir clones that are producing Carneros wines of great depth and character. After fermentation, the wine is aged eight to 10 months in more than 50 percent new French oak before it is bottled. Exceptionally well-balanced, this high-quality wine shows great complexity, intense aromas and flavors, crisp acidity and supple, well-integrated tannins. In the glass, an engaging bouquet of fresh strawberry, vanilla, chocolate and toasty oak beckons, followed by cherries, spice and a hint of earthiness. Although it's a delicious aperitif, this incredibly versatile wine shines when paired with salmon, tuna, wild mushrooms, duck, veal and many other dishes.

- Brenda Maitland

December 01, 2008
94 Points
     

2004 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Cellar Selection"

“Merryvale’s Profile remains a star year after year. The ’04 is nearly all Cabernet Sauvignon, and stuns with its power. With a smooth, complex tannin structure, it’s rich in currants, blackberries and cedar, but is too young to open now. Should hit its stride around 2010 and continue to develop for some years after. Tasted twice, with consistent results. Cellar Selection.”

- Steve Heimoff

October 29, 2008
Wine Spectator Insider
92 Points
     

2006 Syrah, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"A First Look at Our Editor's Most Exciting New Wines"

Bold, rich and full-bodied, with grapey, peppery wild berry flavors that are intense, deep and persistent, ending with a touch of nutmeg and chewy tannins. Drink now through 2013.

- James Laube

October 01, 2008
90 Points
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

If you like your espresso with a dash of sugar, you'll find similar flavors here in the soft tannins of this merlot. The dark fruit gets juicier with air. A round and pleasing red for roast beef.

- Tasting Panel

September 01, 2008
92 Points & Editors' Choice
     

2005 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Merryvale’s ’05 is very rich and balanced, and shows fine Napa Cabernet character in the intense focus of cassis, enriched with new French oak. It’s not an ager, but showcases very high Napa quality for immediate drinking.

- Steve Heimoff

September 01, 2008
91 Points
     

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

There’s something tight and minerally and acidic about this Chardonnay that will appeal to connoisseurs of austere wines. Even though the oak is nearly one-half new, the wine has a lean, lemony taste, with nuances of crème brûlée and roasted hazelnuts. Defines food-friendly elegance, and could develop bottle complexity over the next 5 years.

- Steve Heimoff

September 01, 2008
Sante Magazine
Recommended
     

2006 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Sante Selections"

Clean, bright red berry and blueberry aromas and flavors with a hint of earthiness. Medium to full bodied with good balance and a note of citrus in the finish. Salmon with pesto.

- Tasting Panel

August 26, 2008
The Baltimore Sun
Recommended
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

"Wine of the Week"

It's a rare California merlot that makes a solid case that its vineyard wouldn't have been better planted with cabernet sauvignon. This is one of them. It's a meaty yet velvet-textured red wine with concentrated black-cherry fruit and hints of herbs and chocolate. There's better-than-average complexity here and a drawn-out finish. Although accessible young, it has the structure to age well for five-10 years.

- Michael Dresser

August 14, 2008
South Florida Sun-Sentinal newspaper
     

2007 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Sauvignon Blanc - A True Bargain"

For those suffering from chardonnay fatigue, who are tired of over-oaked wines that overwhelm the fruit, consider wines made from sauvignon blanc grapes... I prefer the sauvignon blancs that show good fruit with texture, ending in a crisp, clean finish... hard to beat the budget-priced Merryvale Sauvignon Blanc.

- Bob Hosmon

August 13, 2008
WineReviewOnline.com
     

2007 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Wine of the Week"

Merryvale's Starmont wines not only offer good quality, but the prices are modest compared to other Merryvale wines. The Wine Guru believes the Starmont Sauvignon Blanc is one of the Napa Valley's best Sauvignons for the money.

- Robert Whitley

August 06, 2008
Syndicated Newspaper Column
91 Points
     

2007 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Wine Talk - These Wines Can Cool the Summer Sun"

Merryvale's "Starmont" line of wines is meant to be lighter and easier than the more serious, grown-up Merryvale wines. But in some cases I actually prefer the Starmont because the wines are not as heavily oaked or manipulated and, Merryvale being Merryvale, the grape-sourcing is clearly at a high level. The '07 is a great example. It lures you into the glass with an inviting floral note, followed by juicy white peach and hints of tangy citrus. For the price it's clearly one of the finest sauvignons in the valley, and worthy of grownup status.

- Robert Whitley

July 01, 2008
Patterson's Tasting Panel Magazine
90 Points
     

2007 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

Smooth, bright and juicy with silky texture and lovely ripe fruit; fresh, long and balanced.

- Anthony Dias Blue

June 19, 2008
Orange County Register
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine

"Weekly Wine Picks"

Medium amber color. Nutty toasted almond, frangipani, candied orange peel and dried apricot aromas and flavors with hints of caramel and sherry notes. Fortified with fine brandy and aged an average of 11 years in French oak. An interesting dessert wine with intrigue and nuance.

- Lynne Char Bennett

June 01, 2008
The Wine News
92 Points
     

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

- Tasting Panel

June 01, 2008
The Wine News
90 Points
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

June 01, 2008
91 Points
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Most of Merryvale’s best Cabs have reserve or vineyard designations, but this basic Napa Valley bottling is very fine. It shows the tasteful elegance and balance that define the estate. Dry and tannic, the 100% varietal wine has deep blackberry, currant and new oak flavors. It should develop well over a decade.

- Steve Heimoff

June 01, 2008
91 Points
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

Merryvale has a very good track record with Merlot, and the ’05 is one of their better efforts in recent years. It’s a tannic wine, with quite a bit of astringency, but that lends structure to the black currant flavors, to which new oak adds a touch of smoky cigar box. This fine wine should age well for six years.

- Steve Heimoff

May 23, 2008
JancisRobinson.com
17 Points
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Napa Valley's Glory - Cabernet Sauvignon"

Impressive balance, with rich (but not over-ripe) black cherry and currant fruit, polished tannins and refreshing acidity. Hints of cedar and leafy herbs. (on a 20-point scale; rated 91 Points on a 100-point scale by this writer)

- Linda Murphy

May 19, 2008
WineReviewOnline.com
90 Points
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Today's Featured Wine..."

Today’s featured wine... This blend of Cabernet from Carneros, Yountville, and St. Helena spends 18 months in French oak barrels, one-third of which are new, which helps explain why the creamy, seductive oak flavors are quite prominent at this stage. Plenty of dark cassis-like fruit is present and will undoubtedly become better integrated with the oak over the next year or two. The tannins are supple and not intrusive. With time in the glass, smoky nuances, other black fruit flavors and gaminess emerge, suggesting this wine will be more enjoyable after a few years of bottle aging.

- Michael Apstein

May 12, 2008
MiamiHerald.com
     

2006 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Best wine I've tasted lately..."

Merryvale Vineyards, of St. Helena, Calif., always turns out dependable wines – rich, fruity, with no hard edges. Their 2006 Merryvale Pinot Noir, Carneros is even better than usual.

The grapes come from the Stanly Ranch on the Napa side of Carneros, a good growing area cooled by fogs from San Pablo Bay. Vineyard workers sorted the grapes three times, in the vineyard, before de-stemming and again before crushing).

The wines were aged for eight months in French Oak.

The result is a rich, full California-style pinot noir, with aromas and flavors of black cherries and bitter-sweet chocolate – smooth and creamy, with a long finish.

- Fred Tasker

May 06, 2008
BiggerThanYourHead.net
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Excellent"

Merryvale Vineyards no longer offers a “reserve” designation, under which this wine would previously have fallen. The level is now the “Signature Tier,” though that term does not occur on the label. In any case, the Signature Tier wines find a niche between the less expensive “Starmont” line and the top-of-the-line Profile and Silhouette.

The Merryvale Cabernet Sauvignon 2005 is composed largely of grapes that would have gone into the Profile, had Profile been made in 2005. Produced from 100 percent cabernet sauvignon grapes and aged 18 months in French oak, 32% new barrels, this feels like classic Napa Valley cabernet. It’s deep, rich and lush, dark as the night that covers us from pole to pole, a serious, intense and concentrated wine. The bouquet is woven from walnut shell and wheatmeal, mocha, cedar and tobacco and — give it a few minutes — aromas of tightly wound black currant and black cherry. The wine is huge in the mouth, notably tannic , earthy and minerally, bursting with spice, and yet for its size, it delivers a remarkable degree of finesee; it’s almost light on its feet. Of this group of wines, it’s the one that cried “Rib-eye steak, please, hot and crusty from the grill!” Drink 2010 through 2015 or ‘16.

- Fredric Koeppel

April 29, 2008
winereviewonline.com
91 Points
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"A few affordable (for Napa Valley, that is) gems from the 2005 vintage..."

This St. Helena-based winery's flagship wine, a red Bordeaux blend called 'Profile' ($125), was not produced in 2005, so top-notch grapes that usually go into Profile instead went into Merryvale's 'regular' Cabernet. It's 100% Cab and is impressively balanced, with rich (but not over-ripe) black cherry fruit, polished tannins and refreshing acidity. It's young and age-worthy, yet drinking beautifully now.

- Linda Murphy

April 25, 2008
WineReviewOnline.com
90 Points
     

2006 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Today's Featured Wine..."

Merryvale has crafted a lovely wine with an all-too-elusive balance of varietal pungency and nuances of creaminess. Not overwrought, and reminiscent of a Graves-style wine, it is suave and long. A lively, bright finish extends your enjoyment.

- Michael Apstein

April 18, 2008
USA Today - CHEERS Wine Buys
     

2006 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Today's bargain wine buys..."

... the Merryvale offered soft and lush citrus and butterscotch flavors...

- Jerry Shriver

April 02, 2008
Sacramento Bee
     

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

"The best of the year... so far"

The white wine sweepstakes round at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition early this year had 16 wines seven of them remarkably chardonnay.

Anyone predicting the outcome would have figured votes would have split amoung the chardonnay partisans opeing the way for a sauvignon blanc, gewurztraminer or other varietal to win.

Didn’t happen... The Merryvale strolled off with the honor on the basis of its complex fruit flavors coupled with its keen balance.

- Mike Dunne

April 02, 2008
Patterson's Tasting Panel Magazine
92 Points
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

The core Merryvale wines are expertly-crafted Napa Valley varietals, made with obvious care and attention in both the vineyard and the winery.

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley: Deep, and dark with rich plum, blackberry and spice; pure, racy acid structure and a long, lingering finish. A home run.

- Anthony Dias Blue

April 02, 2008
Patterson's Tasting Panel Magazine
92 Points
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The core Merryvale wines are expertly-crafted Napa Valley varietals, made with obvious care and attention in both the vineyard and the winery.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley: Velvety and lush with ripe plum, berry fruit and subtle oak and spice; lovely length, balance and style.

- Anthony Dias Blue

April 01, 2008
Patterson's Tasting Panel Magazine
90 Points
     

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

The core Merryvale wines are expertly-crafted Napa Valley varietals, made with obvious care and attention in both the vineyard and the winery.

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros: Creamy, rich and showing lots of sweet new oak and nice, racy fruit; toasty, crisp and bright.

- Anthony Dias Blue

April 01, 2008
Patterson's Tasting Panel Magazine
90 Points
     

2006 Pinot Noir, Carneros

The core Merryvale wines are expertly-crafted Napa Valley varietals, made with obvious care and attention in both the vineyard and the winery.

2006 Pinot Noir, Carneros: Juicy and clean with lively acidity, fresh red cherry and notes of earth; silky and long, with spice, fresh fruit and fine texture.

- Anthony Dias Blue

March 15, 2008
Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

March 14, 2008
Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
SILVER MEDAL
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

March 10, 2008
TheTimesNews.com
Recommended
     

2006 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Celebrate springtime with sauvignon blanc"

As spring approaches, we like to get ready for a new season with sauvignon blanc.

One of the most aromatic grape varieties in the world, sauvignon blancs can range dramatically in style. Some are herbaceous, and others blended with semillon or oak can be round.

Sauvignon blanc is an excellent wine to just sip, but it is a nice match to citrus sauces and most fowl.

Here are a few we have recently tasted:


Merryvale Starmont Sauvignon Blanc 2006
Very appealing ripe honeydew and melon nose. Ripe melon peach flavors are balanced with bright citrus flavored acidity. A very nice package.

- Tom Marquardt and Patrick Darr

March 05, 2008
San Jose Mercury News
Here were some of my favorites...
     

2004 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Daniel: Not all Napa cab makers have lost their way..."

...the 2004 Merryvale Profile ($125), a Bordeaux-style blend that's plump and juicy, with ripe black cherry and good structure.

- Laurie Daniel

March 01, 2008
Quarterly Review of Wines
     

2004 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Best of the Best"

Rich, concentrated, well-knit, spiced pear and toasted nut flavors.

- QRW Tasting Team

January 19, 2008
2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Best of Class Gold / Best Overall White Wine
     

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

"Sweepstakes Winner!"

- Tasting Panel

January 18, 2008
2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver Medal Winner
     

2006 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

January 18, 2008
2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver Medal Winner
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

January 18, 2008
2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Silver Medal Winner
     

2006 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

- Tasting Panel

January 17, 2008
Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences
Exceptional
     

2005 Chardonnay, Carneros

"Tasting Notes"

A handsome aroma of citrus and faint blossoms leads to a mid-palate loaded with charm and real Chardonnay flavors. Crisp mid-palate, and succulent enough to work with rich foods.

- Dan Berger

January 17, 2008
Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences
Exceptional
     

2005 Merlot, Napa Valley

"Tasting Notes"

The aroma is bright with blue fruit, traces of tobacco and mint, and a lilting, seductive mid-palate with great acidity to pair with food. Fruit from Carneros and Oak Knoll. A startlingly superb red!

- Dan Berger

January 17, 2008
Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences
Exceptional
     

2004 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Tasting Notes"

Few Cabs are worth this much, but this newer approach is superb. Nicely knit aroma (cherry and subtle spices) with faint hints of dried herbs. Graceful structure and balance for aging, but also great now with aeration.

- Dan Berger

January 17, 2008
Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences
Exceptional
     

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Tasting Notes"

A black currant and blackberry aroma opens with air to show added depth from oak. Great balance; should age nicely for a few years. Supple enough to consume now with beef.

- Dan Berger

January 17, 2008
Dan Berger's Vintage Experiences
Exceptional
     

2006 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Tasting Notes"

Remarkable spice component adds interest to red cherry and delicate pomegranate aroma. Silky entry and succulent mid-palate fruit. Slightly spiced finish to pair with roast beef.

- Dan Berger

January 02, 2008
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
     

2006 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Wine Section Recommendations"

A good Chardonnay with a soft texture. Aromas and flavors of green apple and kiwi. Lightly oaked.

- Tasting Panel

November 01, 2007
91 Points & Editors' Choice
     

2004 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

The Starmont designation is sort of a junior version of Merryvale’s more expensive wines and is often an solid value. So it is with this Cab, whose grapes come from some prestigious vineyards. It’s dry, rich and complex, with a classic Napa balance of firm, sweet tannins, acidity and cassis and cherry fruit. Beautiful now, and should hold well for six years.

- Steve Heimoff

October 10, 2007
Santa Rosa Press Democrat
     

2004 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Wine of the Week"

A tasty, bright cab with good acidity. Aromas and flavors of cranberry and rhubarb. Nice mouth-feel. Medium-bodied.

- Peg Melnik

May 02, 2007
The Santa Rosa Press Democrat
     

2003 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

"Recommended Merlots"

Rich and showy. Aromas and flavors of cherry, black cherry, cassis, currants, licorice and cola. Pronounced oak.

- Tasting Panel

May 01, 2007
93 Points
     

2003 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Buying Guide Wines"

Merryvale's Profile has been one of the most reliable Bordeaux blends for a long time, and the '03, which is mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, is a very fine expression of the house style. A blend of impressive vineyards, it's opulent in black currant flavors, and is most notable for its softly elegant balance. It's the kind of wine that will dazzle even people who say they don't like reds.

- Steve Heimoff

May 01, 2007
93 Points, Editors' Choice
     

2003 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Buying Guide Wines"

Silhouette typically is held back a little longer than most Chards, which seems to soften it slightly. Still, the '03 is as fresh and pure in fruit as a young wine. It brims with ripe green apple butter, pineapple custard, butterscotch and spicy rum flavors that are well-oaked, and has none of the herbaceousness that often marks Napa Valley Chardonnay.

- Steve Heimoff

May 01, 2007
92 Points
     

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"Buying Guide Wines"

So rich, so opulent in primary fruit extract and new oak that it just demands time in the bottle to calm down. Explodes in cassis flavors spiced up with sweet, charry oak, and the tannins are fresh, young and vibrant, the kind that will usher this wine through a long lifetime.

- Steve Heimoff

May 01, 2007
92 Points, Editors' Choice
     

2004 Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros

"Buying Guide Wines"

Here's a seriously good Chardonnay that fruit lovers will covet, but it's also enormously oaky. I like all that new French wood because the caramelly, smoky vanilla and buttered toast, which is boosted by total malolactic fermentation, works well with the mangoes, papayas and pineapples. But I know people who would call this Chard toothpicky.

- Steve Heimoff

May 01, 2007
90 Points
     

2003 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Buying Guide Wines"

Merryvale's '03 Reserve doesn't quite show the complexity of the Clone 6 or Vineyard X bottlings, but then again, it's nowhere near the price. And as rich as it is, it's a comparative bargain. With luxuriously soft tannins, it's opulent in black currant, cocoa and new oak flavors that finish long and smooth.

- Steve Heimoff

May 01, 2007
88 Points
     

2005 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Buying Guide Wines"

The grapes are from Pope Valley, a warmer, more inland section of the Napa Valley, but the vintage was cool, and this barrel-fermented wine shows crisp acidity and polished flavors of citrus fruits, hay, figs and melons. With a dash of Sémillon, its a sophisticated, dry white wine.

- Steve Heimoff

April 08, 2007
The Press Democrat
     

2003 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"Good Value and the Occasional Splurge..."

Weekly wine pick... Merryvale, 2003 Beckstoffer Vineyards Las Amigas Vineyard, Carneros Merlot --
A juicy ripe merlot, with firm tannins. Notes of cherry, black cherry and spice.

- Peg Melnik

April 01, 2007
Food & Wine Magazine
RECOMMENDED
     

2005 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Easy-to-Find Wine Choice"

For the featured recipe, Smoken Salmon Panini, the easy-to-find choice is 2005 Merryvale Starmont Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc.

- Richard Reddington and Chris Blanchard

March 16, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
     

2003 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"The San Francisco Chronicle's Wine Selections -- Napa Merlot"

Ample oak here, with cocoa, coconut and subtle burnt leaf on the nose. A bright core of acidity -- the virtures of cooler Carneros -- underscores refreshing plum flavors and yields a long, tangy finish. Not a wide range of flavor, but the balance is pleasing.

Only 14 out of 58 wines tasted were recommended -- two stars signifies good rating.

- Tasting Panel

March 16, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
     

2003 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

"The San Francisco Chronicle's Wine Selections -- Napa Merlot"

Lots of cocoa and plum on the nose, with sour cherry highlights and a gripping core of lingering fruit. Almost too much structure, but bold flavors sustain it. Hints of oak char on the finish.

Only 14 out of 58 wines tasted were recommended -- two and a half stars signifies good to excellent rating.

- Tasting Panel

March 04, 2007
Quarterly Review of Wines
     

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"Best of the Best"

At the 23rd annual Blind Tasting of California Cabs, the 2003 Merryvale Beckstoffer Vineyard X Oakville was one of the top 6 wines of the show, earning "Best of the Best" / "5 Stars" / "Outstanding" (the highest possible rating). 129 wines were tasting blind over two days. Results will appear in the Summer issue.

- Tasting Panel

March 01, 2007
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines
     

2002 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

Creamy oak abounds in the cherry-like aromas and again in the properly ripened, moderately fruity flavors of this supple, well-balanced, medium-full bodied wine. Its large fraction of Cabernet is made manifest in a push of last-minute tannins, but the fruit and the feel of this one are always those of Merlot.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

March 01, 2007
91 Points
     

2003 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"Top 45 Merlots From Around the Globe"

This is an enormously complex and appealing Merlot that's offering its best fruit now and for the next three or four years. It's fresh and lively in oak-enhanced blackberry jam, cassis, blueberry, licorice, mushu plum sauce and coffee flavors that last for a full minute into the finish. Shows the elegant balance and finesse of a great Napa red.

- Steve Heimoff

March 01, 2007
89 Points
     

2003 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

"Top 45 Merlots From Around the Globe"

The winery has cleverly and properly positioned this in price between its Starmont and Las Amigas Merlots, and you get exactly what you pay for. It's a rich, sumptuous wine, with lush berry, carob, coffee and cinnamon spice flavors. Dry and refined, it may improve for a couple years.

- Steve Heimoff

March 01, 2007
     

2003 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"Top 45 Merlots From Around the Globe"

There's a lot to like in this Merlot, which is Merryvale's lowest priced bottling that shares much in common with its expensive ones. It has the upscale elegance of a fine Napa red, with gorgeous tannins and refinded cherry marmalade, blackberry, cola, violet and earthy flavors. Drink now.

- Steve Heimoff

February 01, 2007
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines
89 Points
     

2003 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

Attractive scents of ripe apples vie for attention with hardwood spice and a touch of creme brulee in the medium-volume nose of this somewhat rounded and supple wine. It is rich and full of developed, inviting character on the palate where its suggestions of clove and toast add to its charms. If directed by oak at the very finish, it stays in balance throughout.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

February 01, 2007
Gourmet Magazine
RECOMMENDED
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine

"RECOMMENDED WINE for Romantic Dinner"

"... As for our fondue, chocolate is never easy on a dessert wine, but Merryvale Antigua, a Muscat de Frontignan blend drawn from vintages that go back to 1970, has the power to withstand chocolate's underlying bitterness but still marries well with the accompanying raspberries and macaroons."

- Gerald Asher

January 19, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
Gold Medal
     

2005 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Gold Medal-winning wine for 2007."

- Tasting Panel

January 18, 2007
San Francisco Chronicle
     

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"Weekly Wine Pick"

Sourced from a mix of old and young vines off one of Andy Beckstoffer's Oakville bench plantings, given two-thirds new French oak... A strong perfume scent above the dark-black fruit...

- Tasting Panel

January 12, 2007
The Wall Street Journal
GOOD - Recommended
     

2005 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"The Dow Jones Under-$20 Chardonnay Index: Only 6 Recommended out of 70 Tasted"

"The new year is a time for new hope, for second chances. In that spirit, we decided to conduct a new tasting of inexpensive American Chardonnay. Chardonnay continues to be America's sweetheart, far and away the most popular varietal wine in the U.S.

"We picked up almost 70 that cost less than $20. We bought wines from the 2004 and 2005 vintages, because those are the ones you are most likely to see on shelves. We focused on the best-known, most widely available names, but we also snagged a few that are a bit more obscure. As always, we were not looking for 'America's best Chardonnay,' but were trying to get an overall sense of the state of inexpensive Chardonnay

"In fact of almost 70 wines in our tasting, just six rated Good or better... What those six had in common should be the simplest thing in the world: tastes of honest Chardonnay fruit."

- Dorothy J. Gaiter and John Brecher

December 15, 2006
94 Points
     

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Clone Six

"Buying Guide"

Very ripe and aromatic, throwing out cascades of inviting scents. New toasty oak dominates, with undercurrents of blackberry jam, blueberry, mocha and anise. In the mouth, huge, lush powerful, and explosively fruity young wine, yet maintains balance and elegance. Really good. Best now - 2015.

- Steve Heimoff

December 03, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
     

2003 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Top 100 Wines of 2006"

Powerful and taut now, it has toast and juniper-berry aromas and a palate of lush blueberry, blackberry, chocolate, vanilla, clove and coffee. Based on Cabernet Sauvignon, it should soften with time.

- Linda Murphy and Lynne Char Bennett

December 01, 2006
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wines
89 Points
     

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

...From one of Napa's premier vineyards... Depth and suppleness get it big points, and for those who are not wed to Cabernet specificity, this one will be especially rewarding. We think it will look better in more balanced vintages, but we also admit that it will certainly drink well for several years to come.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

November 29, 2006
Tastings.com
92 Points
     

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"World Wine Championships"

- BTI Tasting Panel

November 29, 2006
Tastings.com
90 Points
     

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Clone Six

"World Wine Championships"

- BTI Tasting Panel

November 29, 2006
Tastings.com
90 Points
     

2005 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"World Wine Championships"

- BTI Tasting Panel

November 29, 2006
Tastings.com
89 Points
     

2005 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"World Wine Championships"

- BTI Tasting Panel

November 26, 2006
Tastings.com
93 Points
     

2003 'Profile', Napa Valley

"World Wine Championships"

- BTI Tasting Panel

September 15, 2006
APPELLATIONamerica.com
Appellation Signature Wine
     

2003 Zinfandel, Napa Valley

"Recommended Wine"

This was one of longtime Merryvale winemaker Steve Test's last wines before going out on his own. What a wine it is, too. Everything you'd expect from a Napa Valley Zinfandel is in place here. It's big, and given time, this purports to be a great wine. There's juicy blackberry and wild cherry. It's simply beautiful. Hold onto it for a couple of years and then love it for the next 20 years.

According to the technical notes on the wine, the vines at the Jan Vineyard on Mills Lane in St. Helena are 'very old.' They are head trained and dry-farmed -- the way Zinfandel used to be grown and tended to. In the cellar, the wine was made with minimal invasiveness including native yeasts and no fining or filtering. The grapes were picked at a very low 22.9 degree brix, but the final listed alcohol is a surprising 15 percent. However, the latter is hardly noticed.

The wine was aged for 17 months in 22 percent new French oak barrels. There were only 202 cases produced.

This Zinfandel was also selected as an Appellation Signature Wine by a panel of St. Helena winemakers in an Appellation Discovery tasting on June 22, 2006.

- Alan Goldfarb

August 30, 2006
AM New York
Recommended
     

2004 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Just in case you're not dressed in late-summer whites, taste a few."

You'll find pear and apple notes in the 2004 Merryvale Vineyards Starmont Chardonnay, a versatile and satisfying number with traces of vanilla. Try it with lobster, monkfish, lighter chicken dishes.

- Peter M. Gianotti

August 01, 2006
91 Points
     

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"91 Points - Cellar Selection"

...this Cab has plenty of flash in the ripe Cabernet fruit, rich oak, dense tannins and crisp acidity...

- Tasting Panel

June 21, 2006
Piedmont Post
     

2003 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Top California Cabernets"

A classic Bordeaux blend made with all the typical varietals except Malbec. Inky dark in color, the nose has the earthy complexity of good Bordeaux yet the opulent fruit California cab is known for. This wine needs a few years of age to show all it's got.

- Pierre du Mont

May 28, 2006
2006 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
     

2003 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Critics Gold"

Excellent! A wine of depth and power with complex aromas and a long stylish finish.

- Robert Whitley

May 28, 2006
San Francisco Chronicle
     

2003 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Excellent"

This is a big, powerful wine, with toasty oak and juniper berry aromas leading to a palate of rich blueberry and blackberry, dark chocolate, vanilla, clove and coffee. Layers of flavor continue on the finish, and while the wine is tannic now, firm acidity refreshes the palate.

- Linda Murphy

May 28, 2006
2006 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
     

2002 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Critics Gold"

Rich, ripe and luscious--a beautiful wine.

- Robert Whitley

May 28, 2006
2006 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
     

2003 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Critics Award"

Complete, with juicy citrus, apple and hazelnut. Some mineral with good acidity.

- Linda Murphy

May 28, 2006
2006 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
     

2003 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Critics Gold"

Pure but powerful with deep, dark fruit notes and ripe tannins.

- Michael Franz

May 28, 2006
2006 Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
     

2005 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Critics Award"

Very clean, lively and fresh.

- Paul Lukacs

May 19, 2006
The Miami Herald
     

2002 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Highly Recommended"

Oak and red berry aromas; flavors of raspberries, cherries and coffee; medium body; long finish.

- Fred Tasker

April 01, 2006
Korea Wine Challenge 2006
     

2002 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"Gold Medal"

- Tasting Panel

April 01, 2006
Korea Wine Challenge 2006
     

2002 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Gold Medal"

- Tasting Panel

March 01, 2006
The Quarterly Review of Wines
     

2002 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"5 Stars - Outstanding; Best of the Best"

At the 22nd Annual Blind Best of Best Chardonnay tasting, this wine was one of only 4 wines to receive the coveted 5-Stars/Outstanding at the Best of Best with the following tasting notes:

Very French (indeed, reminiscent of top-class Meursault), with lush, nutty, pear, toffee and mineral flavors.

- Tasting Panel

March 01, 2006
Patterson's Beverage Journal
92 Points
     

2002 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"92 Points from Anthony Dias Blue"

Lush and bright with lively acidity and searingly pure berry fruit; excellent

- Anthony Dias Blue

February 01, 2006
The Wine News
92 Points
     

2002 'Profile', Napa Valley

"92 Points from The Wine News"

Forward aromas of stewed plum and maraschino cherry with a pungent, mushroom-like note. Crisp, racy red fruit, cedar and clove flavors. Needs time... Great potential.

- Tasting Panel

February 01, 2006
Restaurant Wine
     

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"Four Stars From Restaurant Wine"

Fleshy, full bodied, and quite complex in flavor; an excellent Cabernet, boasting of toast, caramel, dried berries, licorice, and tobacco. Long aftertaste. Unfiltered. 1,550 cases.

- Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW

February 01, 2006
The Wine News
90 Points
     

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"90 Points from The Wine News"

An initial whiff of coconut yields to serious aromas of black currant, pencil, anise and smoke. Concentrated flavors of black fruit, redwood and spicy cedar. Long, peppery close.

- Tasting Panel

February 01, 2006
Restaurant Wine
     

2002 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"Four Stars from Restaurant Wine"

A firm, full bodied, finely flavored Merlot, which is supple in texture, medium rich (toast, tobacco, black currant, licorice aromas/flavors), and long on the finish. Excellent. Unfiltered. 1,350 cases.

- Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW

January 19, 2006
AppellationAmerica.com
     

2003 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Appellation Signature Selection"

Excellent Pinot definition, with a racy cherry aroma, good acidity and structure. Tannins are soft and pliable with a trace of oak in the finish. Slight spice character and good length. Just a tiny trace of dried herbs, adding complexity.

- Tasting Panel

January 19, 2006
AppellationAmerica.com
     

2003 Chardonnay, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros

"Appellation Signature Selection"

Evident in the wine are oak and butterscotch overtones with perfumed orange blossom aromas. On the palate, this Chardonnay is complex and elegant on a nutty, rather than fruit-driven texture, although some pineapple emerges. The length is good, where there's a cleansing wash of acidity.

- Tasting Panel

December 01, 2005
     

2002 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Recommended by Wine & Spirits"

The gentle plum, prune and green peppercorn flavors of this wine are relatively light and short at first, then lengthen out with air. The warm, wood-edged tannin will add spice to lamb.

- Tasting Panel

December 01, 2005
winereviewonline.com
92 Points
     

2002 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"92 Points at winereviewonline.com"

At a serious price such as this, one had better put a serious wine in the bottle, but no consumer will come away doubting the seriousness of this baby. The blackberry fruit is very intense and concentrated, with nice acidity and lots and lots of tannin. However, the tannin is fairly fine in grain, and the oak is largely absorbed by the fruit already, so this can be enjoyed now with commensurately serious food--such as a grilled steak

- Michael Franz

December 01, 2005
winereviewonline.com
90 Points
     

2002 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"90 Points from winereviewonline.com"

A fair number of vintners working in Carneros will tell you (off the record, generally) that the region is really proving too warm to make great Pinot Noir, but that Merlot and Syrah are shaping up to be the lead varieties in the area. This wine lends credence to that notion. With impressively powerful aromatics and admirable depth of flavor, this is not your average dumbed-down Cabernet, but rather a gutsy Merlot that shows power without losing varietal character. This shows up in the form of plum and berry notes that are vivid but not grapey or obvious, being nicely intertwined with tannins and notes of smoky oak. Excellent!

- Michael Franz

December 01, 2005
92 Points
     

2002 'Profile', Napa Valley

"92 Points from Wine & Spirits"

Steve Test blends this from eight vineyards, including Merryvale Estate, Beckstoffer-Georges III, VI, X and ToKalon, to create a bright red modulated by earthy, mineral tannins. The flavors layer red cherry with herbs and the dark fruit of wild mushrooms. That distinctive herbal complexity will meld with roast partridge.

- Tasting Panel

November 15, 2005
91 Points
     

2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"91 Points"

Test's '01 Reserve Cabernet has a similarly dense structure that allows black cherry flavors to act as highlights to the overall wine, instead of dominating it with jammy character.

- P.J.C.

November 15, 2005
91 Points
     

2002 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"91 Points"

The '02 Starmont Merlot is an ageworthy example of Napa merlot at its best, with bright red-fruited sweetness balanced with fairly tight tannins (Test added cabernets sauvignon and franc for complexity). At $22 per bottle, it's worth stocking up on it to see that structure take the wine to maturity.

- P.J.C.

November 15, 2005
     

2003 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Recommended Wine"

When it comes to Chardonnay, Test blends fruit from the warm vineyards of Napa Valley with grapes from cooler Carneros and Russian River Valley. The overall effect is a wine that has crisp fruit character from the cooler sites balanced by the mouth-filling richness of Napa's warmer vineyards. It's an immediate crowd-pleaser, and a white wine to drink while waiting for the red to come to maturity in your cellar.

- P.J.C.

November 15, 2005
90 Points
     

2002 'Profile', Napa Valley

"90 Points"

This wine combines firm, ripe, complex fruit with excellent structure. The core flavors are centered around a mix of currant, black cherry and plum and the acidity and tannins are in the right proportion, giving it a resemblance to a fine Bordeaux.

- James Laube

July 15, 2005
2005 California State Fair
94 Points
     

2002 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Gold Medal / 94 Points"

July 01, 2005
90 Points
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"90 Points from Wine Enthusiast"

From a vineyard just behind Brix restaurant, this is a soft-textured, full-bodied Cab with dark plum and earth flavors. Picks up hints of tobacco and chocolate on the finish.

- Joe Czerwinski

July 01, 2005
89 Points
     

2003 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"Recommended by the Wine Enthusiast with 89 Points!"

This is a plump, corpulent Pinot with soft tannins and loads of plum, black cherry and cola flavors. Has some cinnamon and clove notes as well, and a warm, velvety finish.

- Joe Czerwinski

July 01, 2005
90 Points/Panel Favorite
     

2003 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"90 Points/Panel Favorite"

Definitely full of peach aromas, and on the side you'll find with accents of smoke, caramel and lemon curd. If that sounds heavy, it's not. In fact, this wine shows excellent balance. The palate is pure, with sweet pineapple and nectarine. And the finish is flattering; the the mineral, chalky quality on the finish is just right. Purity is this wine's first, middle and last name.

- Joe Czerwinski & Wine Enthusiast Tasting Panel

July 01, 2005
90 Points
     

2002 Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros

"90 Points"

Bigger and richer than the Starmont bottling, with correspondingly heavier oak. Lots of toast and grilled pineapple and peach notes on the nose, followed by a mouthfilling wine laced with smoky accents. Echoes of butter and dark toast on the finish.

- Joe Czerwinski & the Wine Enthusiast Tasting Panel

July 01, 2005
91 Points
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Clone Six

"91 Points"

Mint, cedar and a bit of tomato leaf accent lovely cassis fruit. Full-bodied, with a slightly dusty mouthfeel, like finely ground cinnamon or cocoa, and picking up hints of those flavors as well. Finishes clean and crisp, with soft tannins.

- Joe Czerwinski & the Wine Enthusiast Tasting Panel

June 01, 2005
Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
Critics Gold Medal
     

2002 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Critics Gold Medal"

June 01, 2005
Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
Critics Gold Medal
     

2002 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"Critics Gold Medal"

April 01, 2005
Korea International Wine Challenge 2005
Best White Wine in the Competition
     

2003 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Best White Wine "

March 10, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Wine Selection
     

2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Wine Selection"

Raspberry, cedar and wood spice aromas with flavors of plum, olive, coffee and dark chocolate.

- Tasting Panel

March 09, 2005
Sacramento Bee
My Favorite
     

2001 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Vivid, rich & least expensive"

You simply can't judge wine by price. That's so even when all prices are steep and vary little from one label to the next.

This lesson was delivered again the other day when officials of Merryvale Vineyards in the Napa Valley brought their annual comparative blind tasting to Sacramento for the first time.

For nine years, they've visited 10 cities in quick succession, inviting local wine stewards, wine merchants and the like to sit down to a flight of eight high-end cabernet sauvignons and Bordeaux-style blends. Going in, tasters don't know the identity of the wines, though it's safe to assume one will be from Merryvale.

This year, the wines were from the 2001 vintage, and each was priced at around $100.

My favorite was the fourth wine from the left in the crescent of glasses before each taster. It was vivid with the smell of Bing cherries and rich with the taste of sweet fruit. It also had the longest finish of any wine in the flight, and was the most European, with suggestions of sandalwood and madroña. It was the Merryvale 2001 Profile, at $85 the least expensive wine in the tasting. Two-thirds of it is cabernet sauvignon, but it also contains merlot, cabernet franc and petit verdot.

- Mike Dunne

March 01, 2005
Patterson's Beverage Journal
94 Points
     

2001 'Profile', Napa Valley

"94 Points"

Lush and plummy with blackberry notes and sweet oak; long, round and balanced.

- Anthony Dias Blue

March 01, 2005
91 Points
     

2001 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

"91 Points & Good Value"

Rich oak lifts and enriches lots of fresh, well-ripened cherries in the mildly minerally aromas of this very solid Merlot, and the wine follows suit on the palate with deep, nicely defined flavors that combine continuous fruit and ample oak with a reiterated touch of stony soil. The wine has the substance and the strength to grow for several years.
GOOD VALUE

- Charles Olken

February 24, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Top Ten California Merlots
     

2001 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

"Top Ten California Merlots"

..."I consulted with sommeliers and read media reports before rounding up California's most esteemed Merlots to sample. From that exalted group, I present this list of the 10 best California Merlots.


2001 Merryvale Reserve Napa Valley Merlot ($32) -- Aromas of ripe raspberry, cherry, violet, milk chocolate, leather and cherry tobacco. Mature entry of leather; cherry and raspberry build mid-palate, with hint of milk chocolate. Very smooth tannins. Bright fruit and violet on medium-long finish.

- Blake Gray

February 24, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Wine Selection - Napa Valley Merlots
     

2001 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"Wine Selection - Napa Valley Merlots"

Round with layered fruit and oak with cherry, cranberry, plum, dark chocolate and spice aromas and flavors with hints of bacon fat.

February 24, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Excellent & The Panel Favorite!
     

2001 Reserve Merlot, Napa Valley

"Panel Favorite!"

Excellent and
the panel favorite. Violet, cherry, dark berry and leather aromas; dense, rich cassis, dark plum and chocolate flavors; tobacco and violet notes on finish.

February 24, 2005
MSNBC
Top Choice
     

2002 Syrah, Stanly Ranch Estate, Carneros

"Top Choice"

Intense and delicious dark-berry fruit and spice, defined by blackberry and mocha notes. The tannins gave it a chewiness that I liked as part of a long finish. A good acid level brought balance.

- Edward Deitch

February 17, 2005
San Francisco Chronicle
Wine Selection
     

2003 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"Wine Selection"

Golden apple, banana, mango and caramel aromas and flavors; lovely mineral; high acidity and nice finish.

February 01, 2005
91 Points
     

2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"91 Points"

A beautiful Cab, soft and luscious, with nuances that keep you coming back. Black currant, cassis, coffee, green olive and smoky oak flavors are wrapped in easy tannins that finish smoothly and gently.

- Steve Heimoff

February 01, 2005
Hi-Times Wine Cellars Newsletter
Wow, They've done it again!
     

2001 'Profile', Napa Valley

Wow, they've done it again. Merryvale is pumping out quality wine year after year! Profile is Merryvale's top tier of red wine, comprised of Bordeaux varietals from some of Napa Valley's most esteemed vineyards, such as Beckstoffer, Georges III, To-Kalon, Las Amigas, as well as their own estate. Assembled from mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and with a splash of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, the wine was aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, of which 91% were new. This opaque, garnet-colored wine has an explosive nose of roasted nuts, violets and toasty oak. Once it hits your palate, mocha, currant, black cherry, and bramble fruit lead into a dense, structured mouthful of wine! The finish is long, with evident tannins. It should only be consumed now by those who prefer a big, full-bodied Cab. All others should lay this down in their cellar and forget about it for at least five years!

- Hi-Times Wine Cellars (Los Angeles)

January 01, 2005
The Wine Investor/Buyer's Guide
     

2001 'Profile', Napa Valley

"Four Stars!"

An outstanding Meritage blend. You have to act quickly to ensure that your cellar fits the Profile or vice versa. Perfect balance with great depth and silky texture. There are layers upon layers of aromatic flavor. Plums, cassis, mocha, and olives are all detectable and delectable.

- Jonathan Levine

January 01, 2005
The Wine Investor/Buyer's Guide
     

2001 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"Three Stars!"

A soft berry-scented wine that is supple and full-bodied. Another serious Merlot that is not wimpy or fragile. Fruity, round and plump with stuffing and backbone that will age gracefully.

- Jonathan Levine

December 31, 2004
93 Points
     

2001 'Profile', Napa Valley

"93 Points"

An amazingly delicious and complex wine. Dark and rich, filled with black currant, cocoa and new oak flavors and lush tannins. Finishes with a scour of fresh acidity. Made from some of Napa's greatest vineyards, such as To-Kalon and Georges III, this is a wine with a great future.

- Steve Heimoff

December 31, 2004
92 Points
     

2001 'Silhouette' Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"92 Points"

Lots of new oak and lees lend this wine toasty, yeasty, creamy notes, with vanilla on the finish. The fruit? It's green apples and papayas, with liberal acids. Should develop over the next few years.

- Steve Heimoff

December 01, 2004
91 Points
     

2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"91 Points"

Steve Test consistently fashions generous, solidly built Napa cabernets for Merryvale, this reserve meeting the standard with black cherry flavor enriched by toasty French oak.

- Joshua Greene

November 10, 2004
Washington Post
     

2001 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"Superb Value - A Showstopper"

A showstopper... Under the guiding hand of superstar winemaker Stephen Test, the Reserve has emerged as a slightly gentler, more approachable version of other megaliths. The Reserve is sourced from Georges III, Beckstoffer X and ToKalon, legendary vineyards with which the winery has secured long-term contracts to supplement its own production. While this wine can age for five years or more, it is thoroughly enjoyable now as a great young Cabernet.

- Ben Giliberti

November 01, 2004
90 POINTS
     

2002 Pinot Noir, Carneros

"90 POINTS"

A lovely wine that benefits from its cool climate origins. Bright, fresh acidity accompanies cherry, sweet funky leather and spice flavors, and the mouthfeel is delicate and fine. This is beautiful, complex food wine.

- Steve Heimoff

October 27, 2004
New York Times
     

2001 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"Wine of the Times"

...The merlot category is defined by marketing rather than winemaking.

Having said this, we did find some enjoyable wines. Starmont from Merryvale, was concentrated, with attractive coffee flavors.

If only wines like this were the rule.

Bright cherry and chocolate flavors, with coffee aromas and pleasing texture.

- Eric Asimov

October 01, 2004
90 POINTS
     

2001 Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros

"90 POINTS"

This is an elegant Chard with apple, pear and toasted coconut flavors spiced with liberal doses of smoky oak and lees. It has very crisp, citrusy acids that make it clean and lively. Will be a good companion to a wide range of foods.

- Steve Heimoff

October 01, 2004
94 Points & Top Ten Cabs of the Year
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"94 Points & Top Ten Cabs of the Year"

The gorgeous robe of color and huge hit of expensive oak come first. Then zesty, fresh fruit and perfectly matured tannins fill the wine with depth and a graceful intensity. Finely grown, this has power without over-ripeness, the pure currant flavor lasting with the quality and richness of a grand vin. A great 2001, this is delicious now, and should continue to improve for ten years from the vintage.

- Joshua Greene

October 01, 2004
91 Points
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"91 Points"

This is a very dry and well-balanced Cab with some very pedigreed origins. ...Oozes class. It provides elegant drinking now, yet seems destined to improve.

- Steve Heimoff

October 01, 2004
90 Points
     

2001 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"90 Points "

An intriguing scent of red fruit and sweet William give this merlot dimension. The fruit is rich and sweet, the texture soft and velvety.

- Joshua Greene

October 01, 2004
91 Points
     

2003 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"91 Points"

A great and interesting white wine whose price belies its excellence. It's ripe and lush in citrusy, fig and honeydew melon flavors and has a rich layering of toasty oak. The finish is long and pleasing.

- Steve Heimoff

September 01, 2004
Restaurant Wine
     

2003 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"FOUR + STARS"

Excellent Sauvignon, in a ripe, fruity, well balanced style. It is grapey and fruity in aroma (tropical fruit, with floral, lemon grass overtones), supple and long on the palate, with a smooth, harmonious finish.

- Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW

September 01, 2004
Restaurant Wine
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Clone Six

"Four Stars"

Fleshy and full bodied, with evident new oak character; a richly flavored Cabernet, with fine balance, and a medium long finish. It tastes of dried berries, vanilla, toasted oak and tobacco.

- Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW

September 01, 2004
Restaurant Wine
     

2001 Merlot - Beckstoffer Las Amigas Vineyard

"FOUR STARS"

Fleshy and moderately complex in flavor, this is an excellent Merlot, which is luscious in texture, tastes of blueberry, vanilla, spicy oak, and baked cherry.

- Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW

August 19, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Panel Favorite
     

2002 Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Panel Favorite"

Panel favorite. Fresh aromas of tropical fruit, lemon curd, hazelnut, herb and grass with gooseberry, lime and kiwi fruit flavors; finishes with a bit of white pepper.

August 19, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
Panel Pick
     

2003 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Panel Pick"

Lime, herb, grass and a hint of tobacco on the nose; soft entry with flavors of rich, juicy orange, grapefruit, pineapple and pear; tangy acidity; long finish.

August 01, 2004
94 Points
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Clone Six

"94 Points!"

"Keenly focused and well-concentrated aromas of black cherries, currants, dark chocolate and creamy oak make an inviting start to this plush, rich wine, and its deep, fleshy, mouthfilling flavors strongly reiterate all the good that has gone before. Fairly full in body and supple across the palate before running into an ample dose of youthful tannins, this dramatic young bottling deserves up to a decade of cellaring."

- Charles Olken

August 01, 2004
Connoisseurs' Guide to California Wine
91 Points
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Vineyard X

"91 Points!"

91 Points "If a little bit less outgoing in personality than its partner above, this handsomely crafted bottling excites with its curranty fruit and its black olive, woodsy and richly oaked aromatic seasonings. It is fairly supple in feel and ripe in aspect with accessible flavors that sing of currants, black cherries and crème brulee. Moderate tannins show up at the end, but they do little to lessen the drink now, come-hither qualities on offer."

- Charles Olken

July 29, 2004
90 Points!
     

2001 Cabernet Sauvignon - Beckstoffer Clone Six

"90 Points!"

Ripe, smooth currant, plum, blackberry and gingersnap flavors glide across the palate. Rich and concentrated, this wine makes a statement with its finesse and grace, finishing with ripe, fine-grained tannins.

- James Laube

June 24, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle
EXCELLENT! PANEL FAVORITE!
     

2000 'Profile', Napa Valley

"EXCELLENT! PANEL FAVORITE!"

Tasting of 99,00,01 Napa Valley Bordeaux-style blends. Only 2 of 15 tasted rated Excellent!

"Excellent and a panel favorite. Ripe nose of blackberry, cassis, mint and dusty earth; similar flavors plus cedar, plum, full-bodied fruit and chocolate. Complex, balanced."

- SF Chronicle Tasting Panel

June 01, 2004
90 POINTS
     

2001 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"90 POINTS"

a clean line, its plum and cherry flavor corralled in oak.
Give it a few years, then decant it
for rare filet mignon.

- Joshua Greene

June 01, 2004
90 POINTS
     

2001 Starmont Merlot, Carneros

"90 POINTS"

Another winning red wine from Merryvale! Achieves real class and distinction.

- Steve Heimoff

June 01, 2004
91 POINTS
     

2001 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"91 POINTS & EDITORS' CHOICE"

I love this wine for the effortless way it charms...

- Steve Heimoff

June 01, 2004
Critics Challenge International Wine Competition
CRITICS GOLD
     

2002 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"CRITICS GOLD"

Elegantly styled, with nice finesse.

- Paul Lukas

March 01, 2004
San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition
GOLD MEDAL
     

2001 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"GOLD MEDAL"

February 01, 2004
90 POINTS
     

2000 'Profile', Napa Valley

"90 POINTS"

Cabernet sauvignon flavors dominate this heady and stylish red, even though it accounts for just over half of the blend... Dark in tone, black as a starry night sky... powerful in its tannic richness... This should age beautifully; or decant it now for a steak.

- Joshua Greene

February 01, 2004
91 POINTS
     

2000 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"91 POINTS"

Glides along with dark plum flavors on a dusty richness of tannin. The wine's generosity is there in the welcoming texture and the dark, lasting spice.

- Joshua Greene

February 01, 2004
Restaurant Wine
     

2001 Starmont Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

"FOUR STARS"

A medium rich, supple Cabernet, with good fruit and balance. Full and long on the palate... Tastes of cherry, toasted oak, plum and pepper. The best Starmont Cab in recent years!

- Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW

February 01, 2004
91 POINTS
     

2001 Chardonnay, Dutton Ranch

"91 POINTS"

Solidly in the Merryvale style, featuring exuberantly ripe fruit and lavish oak balanced with acidity. The intense flavors veer toward spicy pears, pineapple and white peach and last through a long finish.

- Steve Heimoff

February 01, 2004
90 POINTS
     

2002 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"90 POINTS"

Youthful fruit is comfortably teamed with a bit of creamy oak and well-measured elements of lemon grass and hay in both the open aromas and fairly fullsized flavors of this rich and lively wine. Its genuinely juicy heart affords certain sense of succulence that persists well into its lengthy finish.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

February 01, 2004
Restaurant Wine
     

2002 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"FOUR PLUS STARS"

Round and ripely flavored, this Sauvignon is full bodied, lightly oaked, and long on the finish. It tastes of pineapple, roasted nut and oak.

- Ronn Wiegand, MS, MW

January 01, 2004
Jefferson Cup Invitational Wine Competition
Great Wine
     

2001 Reserve Chardonnay, Carneros

"Great Wine"

December 01, 2003
92 Points & 2 Puffs
     

2000 'Profile', Napa Valley

"92 Points & 2 Puffs"

The shining star of the Merryvale clan, the Profile bottling is big, bold, deeply constituted wine that married lots of concentrated, black currant qualities with a most generous dose of lovely oak. Redolent of sweet cream, coffee, cocoa and caramel,it is kept solidly on course by its unwavering fruit.

- Charles Olken & Stephen Eliot

December 01, 2003
92 POINTS
     

2001 Starmont Chardonnay, Napa Valley

"92 POINTS & EDITOR'S CHOICE!"

Here's the real deal for fans of big, full-blown Chards. Starts with richly ripe, super-extracted flavors of peaches, pears, mangoes & other tropical fruits and it's all generously wrapped in oak. The texture is creamy, the finish polished and rich.

- Steve Heimoff

SF Chronicle Wine Compitition
     

2012 Starmont Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley

"Gold Medal"

2011 Jerry Mead New World International Wine Competition
     

'Antigua' Dessert Wine