If the label is to be believed, this pure Merlot, from a relatively cool site in a relatively cool year, tops 16% alcohol. The flavors reflect that; a thick mix of tar, smoke, asphalt, espresso and coffee grounds. Buried in there is some black cherry fruit, but it is definitely the barrel flavors and the alcohol that dominate.
Paul Gregutt is a Contributing Editor for Wine Enthusiast magazine, a founding member of the magazine’s Tasting Panel, and reviews the wines of Oregon and Canada. The author of the critically-acclaimed Washington Wines & Wineries—The Essential Guide, he consulted on the Pacific Northwest entries in current versions of The World Atlas of Wine and The Oxford Companion to Wine.Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.