Moonlight Merlot

Time, which ravages fortresses and great cities, only enriches poetry.
– Jorge Louis Borges, The Aleph and Other Stories, p. 76.

Midnight, September 20, 2013: We are standing in Jaeger Vineyard on Big Ranch Road. There is a full moon in the sky, with a glorious halo, which I cannot capture on my phone. It is shining so bright we almost can’t see the stars. Adding to the confusion is the portable light array hovering over our heads. In the dark, it looks sort of like a giant television antenna turned on its side with long fluorescent lights strung every meter or so. It passes over the rows of vines like a UFO as our crew is picking fruit.

I am snapping pictures in the darkness wearing a headlamp. I speak haltingly with the crew in broken Spanish that I have picked up by translating words on Google, always mindful of the quality of fruit that is picked for our wines. Just a year before this, at midnight of October 18, 2012, I stood in this same place with the crew harvesting Merlot.

September 27, 2015: I am reminded of this harvest two years ago as we enjoy the rising of the lunar eclipse. Sunday night found us sitting as a family on the roof of our garage watching the moon, very dark on the horizon, partly obscured by trees to our east. Later, as the night deepened, we lay on a blanket in the cool, damp grass stargazing, satellites crisscrossing the sky.

Our Merlot harvest is scheduled for tonight, and the circle of time completes another rotation, with its own unique variations. Our theme for the month is Moonlight Merlot. This will be our sixth vintage from this vineyard. The Merlot is more feral and whimsical than its cousin Cabernet Sauvignon, which is all smooth lines and fancy footwork. We love Merlot’s sweet blackberry musk, its playful acidity, like the juice from rare steak. Wonderfully ripe yet balanced. Buy it here.

It’s a great time to visit our new tasting room in Napa. We are offering a complimentary vertical tasting of the 2010, 2011, and 2012 vintages of Merlot through October. And while you’re here you can sample wines from barrel and inspect the final phase of our construction, at the conclusion of which we will be able to recapture and recycle 100% of our winery wastewater. If you’d like to schedule a visit, just reply to Juliana.

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