Here is a good value effort, smoky, chewy and dense, with strong flavors but solid Merlot varietal character. There is unusual smokiness in the wine—presumably from barrel toast—but enough ripe fruit to offset that and the substantial tannins. The spicy finish suggests American oak barrels were used.
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.