Alexander Valley Merlot. Grapes for the Folie à Deux Merlot are hand-picked from a selection of prime vineyards in the cooler parts of Alexander Valley. Nestled in northern Sonoma County, Alexander Valley AVA stretches 22 miles from Healdsburg to Cloverdale, following the meandering course of the Russian River. Along its heavily graveled bench lands and foothills lie some of California’s supreme Merlot vineyards, which benefit from the region’s warm daytime temperatures, marine-cooled evenings and well-drained, volcanic hillside soils. Following a 10-14 day maceration period, the lots are aged for 15 months in a combination of French American and Hungarian oak barrels (17% new). Blackberry, ripe cherries, dried fig and tea aromas with notes of tasty oak on the nose. The vanilla, Cherrywood smoke, chocolate and black raspberry flavors are on the palate. Alexander Valley, Sonoma County.