PlumpJack Merlot

PlumpJack Merlot


  • The mild climate and alluvial soils of the Oak Knoll District lend this wine great balance and structure.
  • The alluvial soils also bring darker fruits to the nose and palate, and give this wine its structure and concentration.

Varietal Composition: 96% Merlot 4% Malbec

Elaboration: Merlot grapes were cold soaked for four to five days before the onset of fermentation. The fermentation was then allowed to reach a maximum temperature of 92 degrees F and pressed off the skins after 8 – 10 days. The wine was then moved into oak barrels where they underwent malolactic fermentation. 75% of these barrels were new barrels and the balance were once-filled barrels. 88% of our Merlot barrels were French Oak Bordeaux barrels and 12% were American Oak barrels. The coopers used include Sylvain, Taransaud, Nadalie, and Demptos. A touch of Malbec was added to the blend to add depth and weight to the palate. The Merlot was aged for 19 months before bottling.

Tasting Notes: Layers of aromatics ranging from black cherry, plum, and raspberry to graham cracker, vanilla, butterscotch, and sweet hickory smoke. These flavors extend to the palate, which has a rich and silky entry with bright acidity and firm structure, resulting in great tension, balance, and persistence on the finish.


2016 – 91 Jeb Dunnuck | 92 Wine Spectator | 92 Wine Advocate

2018 – 90 Wine Advocate | 93 Vinous

2019 – 90 Wine Advocate | 93 Wine Spectator | 94 Jeb Dunnuck

2021 – 93 Vinous | 93 Jeb Dunnuck | 91 Wine Advocate


Based on a mutual love and passion for wine, Governor Gavin Newsom and composer/philanthropist Gordon Getty opened a wine store with a mission of creating an approachable environment for people to learn about and purchase wine. Newsom and Getty were inspired by one of Shakespeare’s most memorable characters, Sir John “PlumpJack” Falstaff. A down-to-earth, fun-loving, irreverent character, rivaled only by his fierce loyalty to Prince Hal (Henry V), with whom he shares more than a few goblets of sack (wine) at the local tavern. With this philosophy in mind and an opportunity to create their own winery, Newsom and Getty acquired a century-old 42-acre vineyard in the Napa Valley. Dating back to 1881, this property is one of the oldest operating wineries in the Napa Valley, known then as Mount Eden Winery.

Positioned on the eastern side of the Oakville appellation, tucked below the foothills of the Vaca mountain range, their 42-acre estate vineyard is the cornerstone of their winemaking program at PlumpJack Estate Winery. They are extremely fortunate to have several different soil types on the property, giving them the ability to cultivate and blend copious blocks with different flavors and characteristics to craft wines with intriguing complexity.The majority of the estate lies on a rocky, gravelly base that has been coated in alluvial soils that were washed down from the Vaca Mountains. This alluvial fan spilled out across the east side of the estate sharing land rich in volcanic nutrients creating a near-perfect soil composition – the gravelly base provides excellent water drainage, putting more stress on the vines, and the robust volcanic soils create more complex aromatics with structured, concentrated dark fruit character. Moving to the west of the estate, towards the bowl of the Napa Valley, a few different soil variations are present. Here the vines are influenced by sandy loam soils, and it’s this part of our property that we see expressions of raspberry, cherry, mint and the quintessential Oakville component, sage. The last part of the estate, the west most portion, lies in the Napa River flood zone and is predominantly clay based. This particular soil and corridor of the property does not drain as well as the west side of the property. It is for this reason that they have planted a couple rows of Sauvignon Blanc and Viogner, all of which thrive here with the extra dosage of water.

Today, Winemaker Aaron Miller and his team continue the winemaking heritage at PlumpJack Estate Winery by producing elegant wines that pay tribute to the Oakville estate vineyard and that has earned critical-acclaim.