The 2010 Jaffe Estate Transformation is the product of a longer and cooler growing season than typical for the Napa Valley. The character of the season served to compliment the Transformation style seen in prior vintages and helped preserve natural acidity while giving the Merlot even more time on the vine to develop rich flavors and fleshy tannins. Visually the wine displays a bright crimson color showing both its youth and freshness. The nose explodes from the glass with an intense bouquet of black cherry, raspberry and mocha along with a note of dried rose petals for an intriguing introduction of what's to come. The palate is rich and lush with a mouth coating texture and complex layers of flavor showing both red and black fruits as seen on the nose while blending in a touch of coffee and spice. The tannins are rich but not intrusive and show well in the lingering finish complimented by layers of fruit and refreshing acidity. Overall the wine is extremely well balanced and finely structured with each component complimenting the other for a rich and complete experience.
Rainfall returned after three dry years, pushed bud break, flowering and fruit-set back by at least two weeks at the front end of the growing season, and due to the cloud cover, there was no frost damage in 2010. The summer brought cooler than normal temperatures, where constant vigilance and rigorous canopy management averted mildew or pest problems. The ten-day to two-week lag continued into a later than average veraison. The relatively cool growing season coupled with the unexpected heat spikes in late summer resulted in a late and shortened harvest with lower yields. Vintners were excited about what they were tasting from the vineyards--concentrated flavors that will materialize into elegant, structured wines, almost European in style.