Miura Vineyards is based in Napa but sources its grapes from vineyards in Monterey County, the Santa Lucia Highlands, San Luis Obispo County and Napa Valley. Miura also has winemaking projects in northeastern Spain in the Priorat appellation and others. Miura was started in the 1990s when a group of San Francisco chefs and sommeliers decided to make wine. Miura’s owner is Emmanuel Kemiji, a well-known master sommelier and restaurateur who was part of that group. He named the project after a breed of Spanish bulls used in bullfighting. In California the estate makes Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. In Spain the estate makes Grenache and red and white Grenache blends. Robert M. Parker Jr. has written that the Pinot Noirs “I have tasted to date have been outstanding, suggesting this is a serious Pinot Noir specialist.”
Carneros AVA, also known as Los Carneros, is at the southern end of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys at the top of the San Francisco Bay. The 8,000 vineyard acres are mostly planted to Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, both of which thrive in the district’s cool, marine climate. Carneros became an AVA in 1983 and it has attracted foreign wine companies along with local producers. It has been especially appealing to European producers of sparkling wines including the giant Spanish cava producers Codorniu and Frexinet, and the French Champagne house Taittinger. Codorniu in Carneros is called Artesa, and Frexinet’s Carneros brand is Gloria Ferrer. Taittinger calls its Carneros winery Domaine Carneros. The European producers also make still wines in Carneros.
The Merlot grape is such a deep blue that it is named for the blackbird. It’s an early ripening grape and one of the primary varietals used In Bordeaux. Merlot is also grown in the "International style," which is harvested later to bring out more tannins and body.