The Cowgirl and The Pilot Merlot 2016

$0 / Bottle (750ml)

A tribute to Janet & John Trefethen and their incredible love story.

Sold Out

A tribute to Janet & John Trefethen and their incredible love story.


  • Decanter 94
  • CGCW 90
  • Wine Enthusiast 90


In 1973, in a quiet agricultural valley north of San Francisco, a young Navy veteran and a former California rodeo queen fell in love over a bottle of wine. Their love blossomed and while she kept riding and he kept flying, together they built a winery and a family, helping to shape the Napa Valley and the American fine wine industry along the way. Crafted from the finest lots of Merlot from our estate vineyards, this wine is our tribute to them, Napa pioneers: Janet and John Trefethen.

The Vintage

Much of our winter rain came late, with almost 12 inches in March alone. With a very warm spring, the vines were running about three weeks early heading into the summer months. July and August were cooler than average, with foggy mornings, mild sunny afternoons, and no severe heat spells. Vineyard temperatures rose again in September and harvest dates were early by about two weeks. The heat in the spring and again in the fall provided welcome bookends to the mild summer. The grapes benefited from increased hang time and showed fantastic character development.

The Wine

Rich, fragrant notes of dark ripe blackberries, raw cacao, and incense with a touch of violet envelop the nose. Generous on the palate, the velvety texture leads to layers of sumptuous black cherry and dark chocolate beautifully integrated with toasted spice tones of cigar box and anise. This stunning Merlot with incredible structure and balance can be appreciated now or in the years to come as it will continue to develop exquisitely.

Food Affinities

Winery Chef Chris Kennedy suggests pairing this incredible wine with rich savory foods that include mushrooms and parmesan cheese. He states this bold Merlot with elegant tannins is spectacular when enjoyed with caramelized beef.

Bittersweet Chocolate Chili Pepper Truffle

See Recipe


Decanter World Wine Awards
September 2020

Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine
October 2019

Wine Enthusiast
April 2020