2021 Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Merlot
Trial attorney Jayson Pahlmeyer was fascinated with Bordeaux varietals and determined to create a “California Mouton.” Vine cuttings from Bordeaux were smuggled into Napa Valley in 1981 as Jason was able to craft his first vintage in 1986. Legendary winemaker Helen Turley was instrumental in the development of Pahlmeyer’s high elevation Napa estate vineyards and early success. E & J Gallo purchased the winery in 2019 and winemaking is under the guidance of Katie Vogt.
I have followed Pahlmeyer’s wines for decades and the winery’s current style is reminiscent of Jason’s early efforts. This beauty is deeply opaque with purple edges and immense purity of fruit. This is a flamboyant Merlot that reveals aromas of purple violets and cinnamon encased within layers of crushed black fruits. Silky textures of blackberry, boysenberry and inky plums are framed with fresh baking spices and melted dark fudge. This wine has it all with incredible length, complexity and texture. It is a true rock star that will easily stand the test of time but is immensely gratifying now.
By W Peter Hoyne