Almost forgotten in all the drama of the 2017 vintage was that it was a superb vintage for our Rutherford Merlot. Location, of course, once again proved itself to be so critical in the production of this gorgeous yet temperamental variety. Sometimes, it takes a vintage like 2017 to remind us that we are blessed at Frog's Leap to have not one but two rarefied locations each with their unique combination of soil and aspect that are perfect for Merlot. With beautiful deep plum and red fruit aromas, a silky structure and long perfectly balanced flavors, the 2017 Merlot paired beautifully with a confit of duck served with wild rice at a recent gathering of friends.
A part of our family since 1990, Merlot holds a special place in the heart of Frog's Leap as the majority of the fruit comes from the Estate surrounding our winery and historic Red Barn. Situated in the eastern part of Rutherford this vineyard is perfectly suited for growing Merlot due to its rich, clay loam soils. We have found over the years that Merlot likes "cool feet" and a "warm body." The clay soils hold more moisture keeping the root-zone cool, while the setting sun over the Mayacamas gives our vines an extra hour of evening sun. Sustainable and dry farming practices reveal the true personality of the varietal, which we describe as having red fruit flavors with a soft, supple texture. We believe that our Merlot is another great ambassador of the Frog's Leap style—elegant, balanced and restrained.