A Thinking-Man’s Merlot

Fairly staining clear ruby with dark edges.  Big smokey vegetal bouquet jammed with mint and brier–a heavy decant is recommended.  I know ‘Carneros’ and ‘Merlot’ are not often decant-triggers, but this one is a shut-down little baby without copious air.  It explodes to life with aeration, bring deep dark roasted spice and velvety fruit to the forefront.

Such a beautiful, classic ME, and one often over-looked in the listings of beautiful Napa/Sonoma ME’s.  It is differs from the Raymond/Shafer/Markham/Duckhorn/N&N/Bancroft/etc. etc. etc. presentations of the variety.  Where most of those depend on massive supple nearly-overwhelming disgustingly-rich fruit and oak to create a wine you have a hard time forgetting and makes you want to kiss everyone, this one relies on bright fruit and peppery structure to create the same impulses–well, at least for this reviewer.  Results may vary.

In the mouth, EVERYTHING promised in the nose is delivered alongside copious acid.  This is DEF not any of the Merlots mentioned above.  Stunning lollipop cranberry and bitter brier struggle across the middle before an even DENSER ripe-cherry-preserves provide a not-subtle exit.  Strapping, green tannin is your last memory.  This has to be the Price-Point/ageability winner of the year.  Buy a case and tell your friends it is Alexander Valley Cab.

2012 KEENAN Merlot Carneros Napa Valley  14.8


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