Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Sterling Three Palms Merlot with Rib-eye Steak

Sterling Vineyards 'Three Palms' Merlot Compliments Rib-eye Steak 

The fifteen year old single vineyard designated Napa Merlot I took BYOB to dinner at Angeli's Italian, our favorite neighborhood trattoria, was the perfect pairing with the dinner special, boneless rib-eye in a red wine reduction with rosemary sauce with roasted red potatoes and steamed asparagus. Linda had the other dinner special, sea scallops.

Sterling Vineyards was one of the first large commercial wineries in Napa Valley, formed in 1964. We visited Sterling Winery, up in north Napa Valley on the main trail just south of Calistoga, with its amusement park aerial tram that takes visitors up to the visitors center, on our first trip to Napa Valley back in the early eighties.

We're big fans of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, our favorite wine, but we have always associated Sterling with the other Bordeaux varietal, Merlot.

Sterling released the first vintage dated Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux varietals in 1969. Previously, Merlot was primarily considered a blending wine. The first Three Palms Vineyard single vineyard designated select Merlot was released in 1985.

At fifteen years of age, this was still vibrant and expressive, most likely at the apex of its drinking window, but certainly not likely to improve from further aging.

Dark garnet colored, full bodied, complex but well balanced, intense firm core of plum and black cherry, with tones of toasty oak and spice, hints of cedar and vanilla yielding to firm tannins on the tangy spicy finish.

RM 89 points.