At Franciscan Estate, they love Merlot. It is part of their heritage. This Reserve Merlot came out of a desire to highlight some of the best that their Merlot vineyards can produce. The wine features fruit from Oak Knoll, which lends deep plum and cherry fruit, richness, and density. They blend in Merlot from Carneros for floral notes, velvety texture, and brightness. Each small parcel of vineyard is vinified separately to capture its individual expression, then paired with a barrel specifically selected for that vineyard's terroir. Throughout the months of aging, they fine tune the blend to its final assemblage. This wine shows intensity with a Merlot sensibility—grace and restraint, balance, and refinement. 93% Merlot, 6% Syrah and 1% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged 20 months in 60% new French oak barrels. Beverage Dynamics selected it as top Merlot. They scored it 95 points and said "Nearly all Merlot, with a small amount of Syrah, and a hint of Cabernet. Quite deep in color, with lots of black cherry, some dried fruit and a nice splash of vanilla. The palate has plenty of weight, with the cherry shining through, accented by some vanilla and chocolate notes. A very long finish." Limited!