Vintage 2016
Wine Type Red
Varietal Merlot
Region Napa Valley
Winemaker Mark Beringer

95 Points - Jeb Dunnuck

"I loved the 2016 Merlot Bancroft Ranch, which ranks with the finest expressions of Merlot out there. Brought up in 50% new barrels, it reminds me of a top Pomerol with its ripe black cherry, chocolate, tobacco, and graphite aromas and flavors. With full-bodied richness, good acidity, and outstanding balance." - Jeb Dunnuck

95 Points - James Suckling

"This is a chewy and flavorful wine with lots of juicy fruit and firm, chewy tannins. Full-bodied, rich and flavorful. Very structured and powerful. Tannic." - James Suckling,

91 Points - Wine Enthusiast

"Sanguine with fruity flavors of currant and cassis, this is a hearty, full-bodied and substantially ripe red, lush on the palate with a succulent texture. It has aspects of forest sage, dusty rock, cocoa powder that highlight mountain tannin structure and bold oak." - Virgine Boone, Wine Enthusiast

Tasting Notes

Distinctive,  even  decadent,  this  full-bodied  plush  wine  is  well-structured  and  balanced  with  complex  aromas and flavors of dark fruits, milk chocolate, black cherry and licorice accented with herbal notes and baking spices.  Soft but potent, it delivers a memorable, spicy finish.

Vintage Notes

The extended drought was beginning to cause concern as the 2016 growing season kicked off, but some welcomed  winter  rain  hinted  at  the  relief  to  come.  After  a  relatively  dry  January  we  enjoyed  significant  rainfall  in  February,  along  with  mild  temperatures.  Bud  break  was  early,  but  was  slowed  by  heavy  April  showers.  While  still  early  by  historical  standards,  picking  began  about  a  week  later  than  2015,  and  continued at a leisurely pace, allowing the grapes to reach full flavor maturity. A traditionally sized harvest followed  the  lighter  showing  of  2015,  and  the  extended  season  helped  to  balance  the  acids  and  add  complexity  to  the  layers  of  flavors.  Warm  temperatures  arrived  as  harvest  began,  but  ultimately,  everything came together in the best possible way.

Vineyard Notes

Located at an elevation of 1,800 feet on Howell Mountain, in a growing area with well-drained white tufa volcanic  soils.  In  1984,  Howell  Mountain  was  the  first  area  within  the  Napa  Valley  appellation  to  be  declared  a  separate  viticultural  area  (AVA)  for  the  distinct  characteristics  of  its  wine  grapes.  Bancroft  Ranch produces clusters with small berries whose high skin-to-fruit ratio results in well-structured wines with  concentrated  flavors.  The  flavors  are  further  enhanced  by  the  climate:  the  vineyard  is  about  five  to  10ºF cooler than the valley floor but experiences more hours of sunshine over the course of a day because it  is  above  the  fog  belt.  This  allows  for  both  extended  hang  time  and  slow,  even  flavor  development.    Beringer has been making a vineyard-designated Bancroft Ranch Merlot since the 1987 vintage.

Winemaking Notes

The lots were kept separate through fermentation and aging to retain the individual terroir characteristics of each part of the vineyard. After gentle crushing and destemming, the juice and skins were sent to small fermenters   where   color,   flavors   and   tannins   were   slowly   extracted   from   the   skins   as   vinification   progressed.  The  wine  was  then  aged  in  custom-toasted  French  Nevers  oak  barrels  (50%  new)  for  20  months. The extended time in barrel allows the big, bold tannins in the Howell Mountain Merlot enough time to soften, and the aromas from the barrels become well integrated with the ripe fruit characteristics of the wine.