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Trefethen Family Vineyards

2012 Merlot

Because Merlot flourishes in relatively cool growing regions with moist soils, it’s extremely well-suited to the ancient alluvial loams, temperate climate, and long growing season of our estate vineyard in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, a sweet spot between Napa’s warmer up-valley regions and its cool southern tip.


  • 2012


  • 89% Merlot
    8% Malbec
    2% Cabernet Franc
    1% Cabernet Sauvignon


  • Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley

Estate Vineyard

  • 100% Main Ranch


  • October 1-27


  • 18 months in 52% French
    38% American
    10% Hungarian


  • 14.1%

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The Vintage

A classic vintage for the Napa Valley, the 2012 growing season was characterized by warm days and cool nights. In our vineyards in the Oak Knoll District, a dry and warm spring provided the vines with a strong start and the summer was generally mild with most days getting up into the 80’s and many nights as low as the 40’s. The early start to the season was tempered by a slightly cooler than average autumn resulting in typical harvest dates for all varieties–and grapes and wines of exceptional quality.

The Wine

On the nose, floral notes of crushed violet lead the way to dark fruit aromas of black cherries, ripe plum and summertime blackberries. Complex aromas that continue to evolve in the glass. On the palate, the wine is well structured and balanced, offering flavors of blackberry and plum, with a hint of dark chocolate and fine leather. The mouthfeel is full and rich, with velvety soft tannins that continue through the wine’s long-lasting finish.

Food Affinities

Delicious with duck, barbecued chicken, cherry-glazed pork tenderloin, beef and lamb dishes, tomato-based pastas and black olive and mushroom pizza.


92 POINTS (v. 2012)
James Suckling July 2015

90 POINTS (v. 2012)
Wine Enthusiast September 2015

91 POINTS ~ Very Highly Recommended
(v. 2012)
California Grapevine May 2015

San Diego International Wine Competition
June 2015
Critics Challenge June 2015

GOLD (v. 2012)
TEXSOM International Wine Competition
February 2015

95 POINTS (v. 2012)
“Merlot is an important part of their portfolio, and it’s always one of the top California examples.”
Rich Cook, Wine Review Online January 2015

90 POINTS (v. 2009)
Anthony Dias Blue, The Tasting Panel
January 2013

Gayot, December 2012

93 POINTS (v. 2007)
“Easily one of the best Napa Valley Merlots
out there.”
Editors’ Choice Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Vintage 2002 "...Reminds me of the best merlots produced in the Pomerol region of France..."
Bob Hosmon, Syndicated Columnist

Vintage 2001 "...reminiscent of the ethereal, merlot-based wines made by Christian Moueix in Pomerol..."
Ben Giliberti, Washington Post

Trefethen Family Vineyards
Trefethen Family Vineyards