An immense and unexpected funky dirty nose. Ruby core but bricking hard in the wide rim. Dull fruit and sharply vegetal, stagnant barnyard waste, fried egg, and the kind of soggy weedy only EXTREME fans of funk can stomach. I did NOT see that coming and can’t wait to taste it. It is not corked, and I suppose could be a bad bottle, but am guessing–from experience–it is merely a un-enthusiastically-produced Merlot being consumed several years past prime. But 7 years? Come on. Whatever fruit you can find in the nose is thinly liqueured, causing a dark spot to lurk below which could almost be considered oak–and probably is.
Here’s how this is going to go: It’s gonna taste way better than it smells, fruit’s gonna be a little sharp and tangy–thin all over–and there’s probably some tannin-ish sort of situation which is will not be so much *tannin* but the fruit not able to keep up with the acid. It is going to be entirely drinkable, and if you squint a bit, even enjoyable.
In the mouth, clean, thin fruit. Watery cherry with an acid back flows over and pierces the palate. Fruit is a one-dimensional pie-cherry, with prickles all over it as its vapidness can not keep up with the structure. A grainy awkwardness runs off late-middle into dirty tannins, which are light enough to not really obscure the now-dark fruit. Bitter grapefruit and a drying finish are both pluses and minuses.
If you remove yourself from the Merlots we kinda expect here in California, this isn’t *that* bad. If you can get past the smell, it could easily be a Pomerol satellite or mid-tier claret. But it stinks.
2012 FRANCISCAN ESTATE Merlot Napa Valley 13.5