2010 Jarvis Merlot


During our June trip to Sonoma we spent Sunday with friends in Calistoga.  Robert has been doing a great job introducing Chris and I to new wineries and this trip was going to be another memorable one.  He was able to schedule a cave tour and tasting at Jarvis winery in Napa.  We planned to meet up with Carly and Robert early Sunday at their house.  Our tasting was scheduled for 11am and the winery asked us to be a little early.

Since I had not been to Jarvis I needed to do a little research…  First thing I usually do is review the wineries website.  I like to check out the prices of the wines and inquire whether or not they offer tours and tastings.  I really enjoy wineries that have cave tours. Some of the other wineries with cave tours I have experienced are Pine Ridge, Cade, Bremer Family Vineyard, Ladera Vineyards and Rombauer.  Of the five, I think Pine Ridge does the best job, concluding with a beautiful tasting along with cheeses within the caves.  If you enjoy cave tours I have provided a link of Napa Wineries with Cave tours.

Reviewing the Jarvis website I noticed they too have a cave tour and tasting within their cave and I also discovered they were the first winery to be built totally under ground.

We arrived in Calistoga around 9:30am with time to spare.  We unpacked the luggage in our car so Carly and Robert could ride along with us.  Driving down to Napa Robert said he visited Jarvis when the cave had first opened and enjoyed the experience.  We all were looking forward to the visit and as we entered the estate there was a gate at the entrance.  Robert stepped out, pushed the button and moments later we were on our way in!  There was no asphalt parking lot, rather the “meadow” and we parked near some ponds.  Walking up to the estate the front door reminded me of the Lord of the Rings.

IMG_7128We were fortunate and had the silver Mustang rental for the trip.

IMG_7057Entering the Jarvis winery.

We entered the doors and proceeded to the front desk where we were greeted by a fun and perky “Cora” in hospitality.  We visited and waited a few minutes for another couple.  Once they arrived, we got started with the cave tour.


We toured throughout a 45,000 square foot cave and were shown some of Jarvis’ approach to making world-class wines.  Cora guided us to a room on the left where the chemistry on wine making was handled.  If you remember your high school or college chemistry class there were beakers and various supplies.  We also entered a room where bottles of wine were hand-dipped with wax.  A full palette of wine was waiting and we were told it takes a day or so to wax and package this much wine.  Soon after entering the cave we could see and hear waterfalls.  It was explained that when Jarvis started making the caves they hit a natural spring and fully took advantage of it.  What better way to help control humidity than having a natural waterfall and it was great for photo’s too.

Once we had finished the tour, it was time for our tasting which was conducted in an elegant tasting room including a very large table.  We sampled numerous wines Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Estate Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, and the Estate Chardonnay along with some delicious cheeses and each of the wines were excellent!

IMG_7113A beautiful table setup with stemware.


If you schedule a cave tour and tasting allow yourself some time.  I believe the overall time from entering the tour to conclusion was about two hours.  The time was well spent and yes, we did purchase some wine!  I’m looking forward to the next tasting Robert has in his sleeve.


The Merlot had a nice garnet hue and deep color depth.  My glass was clear of any sediment.


The Estate Merlot was very aromatic and smelled young and fruity.  I could smell spices (white pepper), oak, black berry and plum.

It was slightly dry and full-bodied and the acidity was good.  The tannins were medium and soft with cherry and vanilla prominent.  The finish was long, soft, and velvety.  I enjoyed this Merlot very much.

abv: 14.2%

This wine was cave fermented, aged 21 months in new “Haute Futaie” french oak barrels, then bottled unfined and unfiltered.  The juice is 100% estate grown Merlot.

How much: $125.00 Retail.  We did receive an industry discount of 40% if I remember right.

I rated the 2010 Jarvis Estate grown Merlot three glasses.


Life is too short to drink crappy wine.  Expand your palate and keep trying.

facebook button Facebook.com/BillsWineWandering

twitter @BillsWineWander