This Merlot is sourced from their 400 acre estate vineyard in the Carneros AVA in southern Napa. The wine is composed of 88% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, 1% Petit Verdot, 1% Syrah. The wine is aged for 16 months in small French oak barrels, 40 % new French oak.
On the nose I get aromas of rustic mountain blackberry, sandalwood, mocha, vanilla, and perhaps a tiny hint of pepper. It smells like cooler weather Merlot and doesn't necessarily show a lot of ripe voluptuous fruit. It has a spicy and almost green-like character with some cedar notes.
On the palate I get flavors of rich blackberry, vanilla, mocha, cedar, and peppery spice. It's a dry style wine with a nice smooth texture but doesn't show enough sweetness and fruit for my liking. It finishes dry with a touch of green and cedar flavored tannin. It's rustic and reminds me of Malbec.
It's more of a food wine then a stand alone drinking Merlot. I can see this wine pairing nicely with a peppered flank steak or perhaps herb marinated lamb. For the price ($25-30) I would say it's a definite pass and an average Merlot at best. 85 points