Merlow Me

Rich nutty goodness initially pouring out of a deep garnet package. Gradually, crimson fruit peeks through, gaining steam and bringing sharp briar and screechy mineral with it. Positively nose-clogging a half-hour in. Deep wet-leathery tobacco, mountains of blackberry and plum, massive rasps of grinding grit and some moldy barnyard covering a teensy plasticine soapiness that isn’t bothering me one bit.

Did I ever tell you about the times we used to hang in that ridiculously creepy steep hillside cemetery in Calistoga smoking and drinking and doing drugs and we would hide behind the gravestones when the sheriff would drive by slowly down below on Hwy 29 and shine his spotlight up into the graveyard?

Yeah… and I probably shouldn’t.

In the mouth, supple as expected on entry. More rich, dark fruit clamor for attention, to distract you from the spice and heat coming up through the middle. A little turpentine and pine-needle breathe fire into it, sealing the deal that this will NOT be another flabby, too-smooth–or even 5-years-past-prime–Merlot. Yes, I wish I had a dollar for every 10YO Merlot I’ve dranken in my life which was 5 years past prime. Apple-core ZANG and peach-pit ZING keep the pulse going on this one, and the still ample tannin assure me the dense fruit will have good company for quite a few more years.

I bought these–and hopefully I have 1 more–from a little cooperative tasting room in downtown Calistoga several years ago. I think the tasting room has closed, but as I recall, Barlow always had plenty of old vintages for sale. And not expensive. and well made. This is hardcore Calistoga wine–a corner of Napa Valley which often gets over-looked but there is a TON of great wine being produced up there and you’re a fool to overlook it. I have always found the prices of Calistoga wine a bit less than their blingier southern neighbors. Which is always nice. This is a great little family-run operation with tastings by appointment and awesome cabs and merlots that age extremely well. Hit the link and check them out.

2010 BARLOW VINEYARDS Merlot Calistoga Napa Valley 15.5

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