The lots remained separate through fermentation and
aging to retain the individual terroir characteristics of each vineyard section.
After gentle crushing and destemming, the juice and skins were sent to small
fermentors where color, flavors and tannins were slowly extracted from the skins
as vinification progressed. Aged in custom-toasted French Nevers oak barrels
(53% new) for 21 months permits the big, Cabernet-like tannins of the Howell
Mountain Merlot time to soften, and the barrel aromas to be well-integrated with
the ripe fruit characteristics of the wine. Small percentages of Cabernet Franc
and Cabernet Sauvignon were added upon blending, to elongate the finish and
add additional complexities to the blend.