Not Sappy

Dark ruby–nearly impenetrable–with a psychological rim of garnet. Steely-reserved at first, shortly producing a heady nectar lined with a dry sandy blow, black tar and thick briar. Ridiculously concentrated bouquet, a dense core of Luxardo, but surrounded by a lighter shade of cranberry, and everywhere, the wonderful green brushiness. Like being whipped with a fresh willow switch for eating all the bread pudding and German Chocolate cake.

No indication the amount of Cab in this, but it is a MASSIVE, jam-packed Merlot. Not looking like a smooth mellow *doughnut wine* like Merlot can often be. The amount of bouquet being generated is mind-boggling and the layers are crazy. I can’t remember the last time I decanted this variety. Well, I’m decanting this one HARD. The grimace of structure never stops peering from the shadows, and I LIKE that in my Merlots.

In the mouth, thick, grainy concentration–something you feel you probably COULDN’T suck through the gap in your front teeth–introduces a monster to your palate. But not thick flabby concentration like Paso or something–no, this is all thick zesty fruit, ridiculously layered with Sonoma Mountain facets. Black cherry and the bite of all that briar weave between fat slabs of chocolate and madrone, your mind doing battle whether volcanic or clay. A distinct spiciness pervades all, settling down to smoooooth berry late-middle right before all that structure I warned you about hits. And hits HARD. at 5 years, these tannins are just barely hittin their stride, and what a long lovely run it is going to be.

You don’t often see Merlot put together this way, but it’s my favorite way. This is a gorgeous wine, an absolute INFANT, honestly needing another 5 years before the magic happens. But it is SO. Stupidly. Beautiful. Right. Now. Buy a case and drink one a year. Which means you’ll be drinking a 2014 in 2031, and this thing will *just barely* be hittin the power-band. Seriously, you don’t find Merlot’s like this very often. Buy them when you do.

2014 ANCIENT OAK CELLARS ‘Sappho’ ME/Cab Berger Vyd. Sonoma Mt. Sonoma Co. California 14.2

www.ao.wine

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