2019 Pahlmeyer Winery Merlot

Merlot - 750ML
Reg: $104.94
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JS 97 WA 94 WS 94
JS 97

jamessuckling.com, April 2022

Ripe plums and blueberries with slate, sweet tobacco and bark, Full-bodied, yet very fresh, with firm, layered tannins and a rich finish. Spices at the end. Juicy. Better in two or three years. Try after 2025.
WA 94

Robert Parker's Wine Advocate, May 2022

Pahlmeyer's 2019 Merlot comes mainly from the estate vineyard, with smaller proportions from the Rancho Chimiles, Broken Rock and Stagecoach Vineyards. It's all Merlot this year, with aging in barrels from Taransaud (75%...
WS 94

Wine Spectator, December 2022

Flamboyant yet impeccably structured, with rich and detailed black cherry and red currant flavors accented by mocha espresso and toasty oak. Finishes with rich, supple tannins. Drink now through 2029. 1,450 cases made.


Color & Type Red
Varietal Merlot
Country USA
Region California
Sub-region North Coast
Appellation Napa
Vintage 2019
Size 750ML
Percent alcohol 15.1%
Closure Cork

Pahlmeyer was born out Jayson Pahlmeyer’s audacious dream of creating a “California Mouton”. A successful trial attorney, he had an insatiable thirst for adventure and a hypnotic captivation with wine. Following his dream, Jayson partnered with John Caldwell, owner of a 55-acre site in south-east Napa Valley. Together, they began planting the finest French clones of red Bordeaux varieties.

After months of sleuthing in elite French vineyards, and years of seeking assistance from viticultural professors at the University of Bordeaux who analyzed the soil samples, exposure, rainfall and temperature data, Jayson and his partner were able to acquire Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec vines with the greatest intensity, depth of flavor and character and proceeded to smuggle their “suitcase clones” to the U.S. through Canada.

Planted in 1981, the French cuttings slowly adjusted. In 1986, with the help of Randy Dunn, one of California’s foremost winemakers, the Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red was made and launched Pahlmeyer’s astonishing track record of critical acclaim.

In 1989, Jayson invited rising star winemaker Bob Levy to produce the first vintages of Pahlmeyer Chardonnay and the 1991 Chardonnay sold out immediately.

In 1993, Helen Turley took the winemaking reins and further improved the quality and consistency of Pahlmeyer wines. She was instrumental in finding Waters Ranch – Pahlmeyer’s high-elevation Napa Valley estate vineyard planted to red Bordeaux varieties and Chardonnay - and Wayfarer, the winery’s isolated estate vineyard in the newly established Fort Ross-Seaview AVA. Waters Ranch and Wayfarer estate vineyards were planted by viticulture legend David Abreu in 1998 and 2002, respectively.

Jayson’s daughter Cleo joined the team in 2008, infusing the winery with new energy and bringing renewed vibrancy to the Pahlmeyer legacy. Vintage after vintage, Pahlmeyer continues to live up to Jayson’s audacious dream – producing phenomenal wines of power and finesse.

The current winemaker is Bibiana Gonzalez Rave. She received her oenology degree from the University of Bordeaux and has worked at estates in Bordeaux, the Rhone Valley, Santa Barbara County, Sonoma Valley and other locations in addition to Napa Valley. She was named Winemaker of the Year for 2015 by the San Francisco Chronicle.

Pahlmeyer Merlot comes both from their estate vineyard and the Stagecoach Vineyard. It includes about 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Petit Verdot. The grapes are sorted by vibrating table and by hand before destemming, and then hand-sorted again afterward.

Cold maceration lasts five days. Fermentation takes place in wood with 15% going into 500 liter puncheons and the rest in new French oak barrels (Seguin Moreau and Taransaud). After gente pressing in a stainless-steel basket press, the wine is returned to barrel for 20 aging months before bottling.