The Cowgirl and The Pilot Merlot 2018

$95 / Bottle (750ml)

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

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


  • CGCW 94


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.

The Vintage

Ample rainfall in the spring recharged the soil profile and provided a strong start to the growing season. The weather during the summer featured consistent warmth and sunshine without any major heat spells. Cooler than average temperatures in August and September slowed the ripening process, providing long hang time and leading to complex flavor development. October was mostly dry and warmer than usual, allowing us to pick each block at optimal ripeness. The harvest was complete before November and the start of an epic rainy season.

The Wine

Aromas of wild strawberry, raspberry, and cocoa are followed by hints of olive, leather, and black pepper. On the palate, the mouthwatering flavors are complex, with smooth tannins and generous fruit balanced by earthy undertones, all of which follow through to a plush and remarkably long finish.

Food Affinities

Our Legacy Merlot is a perfect pairing with umami and savory dishes. This wine doesn’t overpower its mid-palate sensation yet has enough texture to match cooked tomatoes, cured meats, and aged cheeses. Winery Chef Chris suggests pairing this wine with Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Burrata.

Download Tasting Notes

Eggplant Parmesan with Fresh Burrata

See Recipe


Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine
“Now in its third incarnation after its debut with the 2016 vintage, Trefethen’s 2018 “The Cowgirl and the Pilot” is a seriously good, beautifully crafted wine that ups the ante in both richness and refinement over its two, enthusiastically recommended pair of predecessors. It is a deep and decidedly complex offering that in many ways calls to mind the structure and the inherent elegance of better Merlot-based bottlings from Bordeaux’s Left Bank with a wee bit more of the fruity largesse for which Napa Valley is so renowned. Do not race to pull its cork any time soon, however, as this is a collectible, age-worthy wine that is sure to evolve famously for many years yet to come.” – October 2021