The French word Mélange translates to the English word blend. We chose this as the name of our new Smith Wooton Wine for several reasons. The first, and most obvious, is that this wine is a blend of two grape varietals. In addition, we wanted to pay homage to the Old World wine making techniques we use in the cellar to produce our wines. Finally, we wanted to give a nod to one of our influences, Louis De Coninck, who grew the Merlot for this blend.
To make Mélange we selected two of the most iconic vineyards in Napa for their respective varietals; the Flinn Vineyard for Cabernet Franc and the Long Meadow Ranch Vineyard for Merlot. Flinn Vineyard was formally known as Gallagher’s Vineyard and is located just south of Stags Leap on the Silverado Trail in Napa. This vineyard has been the source of our Smith Wooton Cabernet Franc for almost 15 years now. We have a long history with this gem and have developed farming techniques to showcase the characteristics of Cabernet Franc that we desire in our wines.
The Long Meadow Ranch Vineyard has a 30+ year history of producing world class Merlot. This vineyard is owned and farmed by a 9th generation Bordeaux winemaker. The wine is grown in a style that resembles the Right Bank wines of Bordeaux. There is an elegance and age worthy quality that immediately shines in the Merlot’s created from this estate. (Check out Beaucanon Estate)
Like all of our wines, we use small lot fermentation techniques to greater influence flavor extractions. This method is highly labor intensive, but the results are extraordinary. The varietals were fermented separately and blended after fermentation was complete. The wines are hand stirred three times a day to gently extract flavor components without increasing harsh tannins and astringency.
Finally, this was an opportunity to acknowledge the French influence that we have adapted from our time working with Louis De Coninck. Louis has been a great ally to Croze and Smith Wooton. We have sourced grapes from him over the years and have produced some of our most memorable wines from estate. Louis has shared his opinions and knowledge of wine making with us over the years and we know that he has influenced our processes.
So what is in a name? A lot more than most consumers realize. The 2013 Smith Wooton Mélange is representation of our family, as well as those families who work tirelessly to grow world class grapes. We have a strong connection to our growers and we feel it is important that our customers get to know the people behind our products.