Frog's Leap Merlot 17
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. I don’t think I’ve ever written “sing-song merlot” to describe the variety in Napa Valley, but there it is in my notes on this red-fruited wine, a mouthwatering depiction of red plums, savory chewing tobacco and light, brisk, gentle tannins.