Stellenbosch, South Africa; 13.5% ABV
$6 at the Richmond, CA, store on 22 March
Although I’m not much of a Merlot drinker, the description on the back label sounded pretty good, so I got a bottle during the sale.
I felt this wine needed 1.5 – 2 hours’ air to show dark red cherry, blackberry, red / purple plum, rusty earth, green bell pepper, and black pepper, with a drying, tannic finish. The fruit has some soft ripeness to it, but there is also plenty of tangy acid. The wine seems a little young, but is otherwise nicely elegant and well-made. Fans of the savory style of South African wines should find a lot to like here, especially if you are more of a Merlot drinker.
The saved single-glass, screwcap bottle of this wine was really good. The flavors overall are much the same, but more forward and better integrated, and the savory, rusty earth quality had a smokiness that’s delicious. The finish is still a bit tannic. In light of this second-day performance, you don’t even need to be much of a Merlot drinker to like this wine.