Nestled in Napa Valley, Merus Winery has a humble beginning that sets it apart from the glitz and glamour often associated with the region. The founders, Mark Herold and Erika Gottl, started their winemaking journey in the garage behind their house in downtown Napa, crafting their first release, a 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon. Their dedication and passion for winemaking quickly garnered attention, and Merus became a rising star in the region.
In 2007, the Merus brand caught the eye of Bill Foley, who saw its potential and acquired it, incorporating it into his collection. Since then, Merus has continued to produce around 10,000 bottles a year of exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon, earning a reputation for being one of Napa Valley’s best-kept secrets.
Under Foley’s ownership, Merus was in search of a winemaking site that reflected its commitment to quality. This led them to Rossini Ranch, located at the base of Howell Mountain. The ranch, founded in 1891 by Carlo Rossini, was once home to a thriving wine production. However, the era of Prohibition forced the family to abandon their livelihood, and the property became known as the Rossini Ranch Ghost Winery.
In 1998, the Venge family purchased the property and embarked on a three-year renovation project. They transformed the abandoned compound into a modern and stunning winemaking facility, complete with underground caves for barrel-aging and tastings. In a unique twist, the refurbishment project was spearheaded by Erika Gottl and her design firm based in Amsterdam.
Throughout Merus’s journey, winemakers have come and gone, each bringing their expertise to elevate the wines further. Currently, Michael Beaulac, with 30 years of winemaking experience, is at the helm. He emphasizes the importance of selecting the right vineyards and blocks to craft complex wines with structure and color.
Merus’s latest release, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, is testament to the winery’s commitment to excellence. Although made by Beaulac’s predecessor, it showcases finesse, complexity, and aging potential. With luxurious tannins and flavors of black currant, dark chocolate, and lavender, this wine is an exquisite example of Napa Valley’s winemaking prowess.
From its modest origins in a garage to its current place as a winery within a winery, Merus Winery exemplifies the spirit of passion and dedication that defines Napa Valley. With every bottle produced, Merus continues to make its mark as a hidden gem waiting to be discovered by wine enthusiasts worldwide.
1. Who are the founders of Merus Winery?
The founders of Merus Winery are Mark Herold and Erika Gottl.
2. Where did they start their winemaking journey?
They started their winemaking journey in the garage behind their house in downtown Napa.
3. What was their first release?
Their first release was a 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon.
4. Who acquired Merus in 2007?
Bill Foley acquired Merus in 2007.
5. What is the reputation of Merus Winery?
Merus Winery has a reputation for being one of Napa Valley’s best-kept secrets.
6. Where is Rossini Ranch located?
Rossini Ranch is located at the base of Howell Mountain.
7. What was the history of Rossini Ranch?
Rossini Ranch was once home to a thriving wine production but was abandoned during the era of Prohibition.
8. Who transformed Rossini Ranch into a modern winemaking facility?
The Venge family transformed Rossini Ranch into a modern winemaking facility.
9. Who is the current winemaker at Merus?
The current winemaker at Merus is Michael Beaulac.
10. What are some key characteristics of Merus’s latest release?
Merus’s latest release, the 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, is known for its finesse, complexity, and aging potential. It has luxurious tannins and flavors of black currant, dark chocolate, and lavender.
– Napa Valley: A renowned wine-growing region in California, known for producing high-quality wines, particularly Cabernet Sauvignon.
– Cabernet Sauvignon: A red grape variety used to produce full-bodied and tannic wines with flavors of black currant, cherry, and cedar.
– Prohibition: The period from 1920 to 1933 in the United States when the production, sale, and distribution of alcoholic beverages were banned.