Though not treating the grape with quite the same reverence as other varieties, Central Coast vintners are having fun with Merlot, making quaffable, easygoing bottlings like this one. It shows caramelized blueberry, black currant and asphalt touches on the nose. The graphite minerality also pops on the palate, giving a tension to the cassis flavors.
A fifth generation Californian originally from San Jose, Matt Kettmann covers California’s Central Coast and South Coast for the magazine. He is also the senior editor of The Santa Barbara Independent, where he’s worked since 1999, has written for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Wine Spectator, and Smithsonian, and co-founded New Noise Santa Barbara, a music festival.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.