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2021 Yarrow Merlot

93 pts, James Suckling | 92 pts, The Wine Independent

2021 Yarrow Merlot
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/ 750 ml

Wildflowers have always been a symbol of beauty and possibility at Bell Mountain but never more so than after the 2019 Kincade Fire touched 80% of our 340 acres. When Chris and Bradley James walked Bell Mountain Ranch, they were surrounded by devastation as the untouched forest had been badly burned. The walk took them to the top of Bell Mountain where Bradley entered this into her journal from that day: “the top of the mountain was destroyed but no one told the wildflowers”. Yarrow is a native wildflower that floods Bell Mountain with vibrant yellow each spring and is a constant reminder of our hope for the future and nature’s way of saying it will all be okay. We named our Merlot after this beautiful reminder of nature’s resilience and that the soil holds so much potential when the landscape above is destroyed. The hidden universe below ground remains safe and can bring back in bigger and better ways the plants and ecosystem that lives above it.   

The area where the Merlot is sourced are hilly upper slopes with heavy clay soils. Our Merlot is a blend of the Jefferson clone which brings spice and structure, and clone 181 which shows more opulence and elegance. 

The 2021 Yarrow stands out for its complexity, structure, and elegance. Vibrant aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and chocolate leap from the glass. The palate of refreshing acidity showcases juicy raspberry and blueberry flavors that is balanced with prominent but graceful tannins. The palate is rounded out with a memorable finish of ripe plum, coffee, and hints of vanilla bean. The perfect pairing for a juicy gourmet burger, classic Italian meatballs, or a selection of cheeses such as an aged goat gouda or a nutty Manchego.


2021 vintage is one to remember. The vines enjoyed mild ripening weather throughout the summer and fall with very few days of intense heat spikes. This allowed us to pick at the ideal time for each variety and block at Bell Mountain Vineyard. The acidity held up as the flavor and fruit development continued with ample ripening time for an abundance of aromatic qualities and elegant fruit flavors to develop. Drought conditions for the second consecutive year impacted vine vigor and crop potential. Berry and cluster sizes were on the smaller side but yielded a high concentration of flavor. 2021 has some of the lowest yields since we’ve been farming Bell Mountain Vineyard, but this was offset by the exceptional quality of the wines. 

Wine Profile
Alexander Valley
Harvest Date
September 13th - September 15th, 2021
6.5 g/L
Aged for 20 months in 40% new French oak
Bottling Date
June 26th, 2023
Alcohol %
Wine Profile
340 cases
Varietal Composition
100% Merlot