It would seem to be a cold day in climate changèd Santa Cruz that a Merlot would pass the portals of Bonny Doon Vineyard. And yet… one must (as painful a proposition as this might be) remain open to the possibility that the The Cépage That Dare Not Speak Its Name might (gasp) be somehow not just bearable, but in fact, utterly delicious – soft, luscious and plush (not not in a slatternly way), well structured, and even, dare I say, reasonably complex.
Medium ruby color, with a lovely dusty aroma of
fraise de bois, and licorice and gingerbread, with
the subtlest suggestion of garrigue de Provence. (I
suspect that’s the Cabernet Franc.) The aromatics
continue to build as the wine evolves in the glass.
Seemingly light on the palate when first opened, the
wine builds in amplitude in the glass with more air.
The Merlot has wonderful natural acidity (go figure!),
medium tannins and great persistence.
There has been to some extent a sort of “ethnic
cleansing” of Merlot in the Central Coast since the
release of the film, “Sideways,” and it is, of course,
tremendously ironic to be singing the praises of this
execrated grape. But beauty is found sometimes in
the most unexpected places.
Food Pairing Notes
This would be an absolutely perfect wine with lamb
and rosemary. Other ideas include pizza with Italian
sausage, grilled steak with Merlot reduction, grilled