Napa Valley, CA
81% Merlot, 17% Cab. Sauv, 1.5% Malbec, 0.5% Petite Verdot, 14.9% ABV
$6 at the Encinitas, CA store on 29 Aug
Dark red color showing nice legs in the glass. Popped and poured through a Vinturi, the wine drinks medium to full bodied with notes of closed dark berries. The palate evolves past the initial alcohol hit as the wine airs and softens as it breathes, revealing a nice interplay of mushroom, dark chocolate cocoa and blackberry flavors underneath about 30 minutes in. That recognizable elegant Merlot backbone is there you find in better Merlots without too much accompanying sweetness, and a good amount of acidity keeps this food friendly despite its ABV. There is a touch of supporting oak present. This is very typical Napa Valley Merlot in my experience and a very good one.
This would please a lot of Napa Cab lovers who don’t want the CA bombs but who still value a Merlot with a quite a bit of substance and a story to tell. It is not quite the most complex Merlot nor the most intriguing I have had but it delivers from the initial taste to the lingering, slightly chewy (the 17% Cab?) finish. I think I might actually like its nose best.
On Day 2, everything was a bit more muted with expected Merlot elements coming through. The wine was far softer but, I felt, a bit less well delineated. I think this wine was best a few hours in on Day 1.
FYI, I tend to pop and pour not having a wine fridge or a cellar but this wine does seem to have plenty of time left in it. I would be very comfortable bringing this for dinner at a decent restaurant or to a CA wine lover’s house for a meal. Production snuck in under 500 cases at 492, which is always nice.
This is the type of wine that attracted me to GO in the first place and that keeps me coming back.