This block, formerly 13-year-old Riesling vines, was budded to Merlot in 1987 and interplanted to reduce spacing in 1991. The soil is shallow gravel clay-loam, which is ideal for Merlot. Originally, the trellis was a bilateral cordon vertical shoot position set-up. Due to the timing of the Carneros winds, which are frequently coincident with flowering and fruit set, a great deal of shatter resulted in very low crop levels. In some years, this imparted a fairly strong jalapeño character to the grapes. To combat this, the Sangiacomos have added an additional fruiting cane to the system, which increases the crop, bringing it into balance with the canopy and providing more harmonious ripe flavors. The combination of soil, trellising, crop, and canopy management, along with the cool Carneros climate, produces some of the most delicious Merlot in California.
Wine AdvocateDeep garnet-purple in color, the 2016 Merlot Sangiacomo Vineyard has quite a profound nose of crushed black plums, crème de cassis and baked blackberries with suggestions of spice cake, licorice and violets. Big, rich and full-bodied in the mouth, it is laden with black and blue fruit with loads of spicy accents and a plush texture, finishing long and lively. 280 cases produced.