The grapes for the 2012 Counter Punch Merlot were hand-harvested on September 28, 2012 from the Los Carneros AVA of Napa Valley at 24.0 Brix. "Classic" and "Perfect" are just two accolades being bestowed upon the 2012 Napa Valley growing season and harvest. Textbook conditions saw near-ideal spring bud break, steady flowering, even fruit set, and a lengthy stretch of warm days and cool and often foggy nights during the long summer months. Late and light rains held off until the grapes found optimal ripeness, bringing exceptional quality to the crush pad and into the cellar.
The fruit arrived at the winery in small 1/2 ton bins where destemming and hand-sorting occurred. Fermentation proceeded in a small bin for eight days. The free-run was transferred directly into neutral barrels for settling. After settling, the young wine was racked from the neutral barrels into new American oak barrels (from trees grown in Minnesota) where it aged for an additional year. The wine was polish filtered and bottled in April 2014.
Syrah is known as the king of Rhone: single varietal for northern Rhone red wines and one of three primary grapes for the blends from southern Rhone. As a softer alternative to Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah still is known for its thick skin and big tannins, resulting in wines that are age-worthy and stand up to heartier dishes. This Syrah is elegance in the glass, with predominant notes of blackberry and black pepper and hints of anise, earth and leather.
The grapes in this wine all come from the Wild Diamond Vineyard in southern Lake County. At an elevation of 2,200 ft., this vineyard sits high above the fog line, with 5 – 6 hours of direct sunlight daily and then cooled by Pacific breezes at night coming across the Mendocino wind gap. Its red loamy soil is the result of ancient pre-civilization floods and contains rich nutrients that contribute to the density, acidity and color of these grapes.