Wine Advocate 88 points - The 2012 Merlot Suscol Ranch is named for the indigenous American Indians that once lived in Napa Valley. The wine shows chocolate and tangy acidity with a dense ruby/purple color, good mocha and black cherries in a medium-bodied format. It is not the most complex Merlot, but it is satisfying and mouth-filling. Drink it over the next 7-8 years. (Oct 2014)
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The nine-acre Suscol Ranch is located in Jamieson Canyon, south of the city of Napa. The area is very cool, with dense fog early in the season and windy conditions all year long. The vines are planted on a gentle, north-facing knoll of deep, loamy soil and are cordon trained to give the grapes maximum sun exposure. The cool conditions allow the fruit to mature slowly, gracefully
developing flavors and mature tannins.
Wine maker notes
Cooler, windy weather during bloom is typical for this area and the 2001 vintage was
no exception. Fruit set was average for the vineyard, which results in very loose
clusters at harvest. Moderate conditions prevailed throughout the summer months,
which ripened the fruit. Very warm temperatures at the end of August and early
September pushed maturities ahead of normal, and we harvested the fruit in the first
part of October.
The region is very cool with dense fog early in the season and windy conditions all
year long. The vines are planted on a gentle, rolling knoll of deep, loamy soils and
are cordon trained to give maximum light exposure to the fruit while the berries are
very small, yielding low tonnage. Due to the cooler conditions, the vines mature
slowly which allows time for great tannin maturity. This Merlot is often harvested
with or after Napa Valley Cabernets and this extra “hang time” offers a velvety texture
to the wine beyond compare.
Nickel & Nickel is located in Oakville, along Highway 29, on 42 acres that were originally settled as a farmstead in the 1880s. The Napa Valley wineryís collection of classic barns along with the siteís original Queen Anne-style home brings the historic farmstead back to life, while housing a cutting-edge winery capable of hand crafting up to 25 single-vineyard wines.
The land was first developed by John C. Sullenger, a successful prospector and owner of gold, silver and quicksilver mines, who acquired the Oakville parcel in 1865. Nickel & Nickel purchased the property in 1998. The plan was three-fold: to restore the Sullenger farmstead, construct new buildings that are architecturally compatible to the historic structures, and house an ultra-modern winery uniquely suited to producing single-vineyard wines.
”Our goal was to develop a modern winery, specially outfitted to meet the needs of single-vineyard winemaking, while respecting the history of the location,” says Nickel & Nickel director of winemaking and chairman, Dirk Hampson. He adds, ”Anyone driving past on Highway 29 will see a restored farmstead that appears to have been there for generations, without realizing the classic barns house an extremely sophisticated winery.”
The Sullenger farmstead is arranged around three sides of a barnyard and surrounded by 80-year-old olive trees and a white, three-rail fence. Click on the links to the left to learn the fascinating historic and architectural details of each of our farmstead buildings.