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2002 vintage guide for California Merlot


Rich concentrated fruit with fully-ripened flavours—a very good year

Weather Conditions

A cool, damp, rainy spring. May had a few pleasant days but overall was wet. June saw a return to normal warm, dry weather and good growing conditions. The summer weeks were highlighted by a series of short heat waves in July and early September. Carneros saw an absence of fog with sunnier than usual mornings which resulted in some very ripe Merlot. Temperature remained moderate until the heat waves in early September sent sugars soaring. Overall, a cool vintage with widely mixed results. Better than 2000, but requires similar selectivity.
Most winemakers say the overall quality of the fruit is excellent – some reckon this has been one of the best years for over a decade.

Best Appellations

Carneros, Stag’s Leap, Alexander Valley, Napa Valley, Mendocino County, Paso Robles, Santa Barbara County, Santa Cruz Mountains

Best Producers

Swanson, Clos du Val, Duckhorn, Shafer, Sterling, Whitehall Lane

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