Howell Mountain rises just to the northeast of Beringer’s winery in St. Helena, and Bancroft Ranch lies at an elevation of 1,800 feet on the western slope of the mountain. The vines produce small, intensely flavored berries with powerful, concentrated fruit flavors and thick skins that yield robust tannins. Bancroft’s forward fruit demonstrates the classic Cabernet flavor of ripe, sweet black currant.
“Deep garnet-purple in color, the 2015 Merlot Bancroft Ranch has a nose of preserved plums, mulberries and fruitcake with hints of Chinese five spice, menthol, espresso and black pepper with a waft of licorice. The palate is big, rich, soft and seductive, beautifully framing the voluptuous fruit with velvety tannins and ample freshness, finishing long and spicy.” - Lisa Perotti-Brown, Wine Advocate
The 2015 growing season was marked by pleasant weather with little pressure from heat spikes or unseasonable rain. A dry winter, common in recent years, was quickly followed by an equally dry spring, leading to an early bud break and fast start to the growing season. Warm weather continued throughout late spring and summer, allowing for the steady and sure development of flavors. The overall quality, complexity and balance in the vines produced exceptional fruit for winemakers. The impact of the continuing drought was evident in slightly lighter crop loads, but the reduction in size was offset by an increase in quality.