It’s that balance between an ideal growing environment and a measure of stress that reveal complex aromas and flavours in Frog’s Leap’s wines. There are some years when Merlot is delightful and complete on its own, and there are other years that the wine is simply more balanced and powerful with the aid of either or both of its cousins: Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc. You can imagine the lively discussions amongst the Frog’s Leap winemaking team each year as they confront the possibilities of a new vintage of Merlot. The goal is simple: preserve the intense and beautiful red fruit character of Merlot while building the structure of the wine with Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc.
“Hmm. Dry-farmed Merlot in Napa Valley? John Williams and his team at Frog’s Leap grow some of the freshest, prettiest Merlot in a region where the variety is mostly irrigated and taken to extremes of richness. They focus this wine on fruit from their estate vineyard surrounding the winery on the east side of Rutherford, where the cool clay soils near the Napa River provide shelter for the vine roots while the heat of the day ripens the fruit. One taste of this wine may have you wondering why more growers don’t follow their lead.”
Wine & Spirits Magazine on Frog’s Leap Merlot, August 2019