California; 14.6% ABV
$6 at the Berkeley, CA, store on 30 Sept
This wine has been around for a little while, but it took me that long to realize it was a more recent vintage than the last M-S Merlot I reviewed. As I wrote then, I usually don’t like Merlot that much, but that 2011 was pretty good. I prefer this 2012, and it’s a dollar less.
As it’s a younger wine, it’s less elegant than the 2011 was, but it’s richer and more assertively complex. After about 45 minutes in a decanter, it improves considerably to show ripe flavors of blueberry / blackcurrant, Merlot pine tar, ripe red cherry, with a soft but drying earthy tannic finish. It’s excellent now, but I expect it will hang on or even improve for the next year or so.