Expectedly pitch-black and impenetrable. Well, actually: I didn’t know WHAT to expect, as I have every only had Syrah-based wines from this producer. So…. Merlot. I mean–who can fuck up Merlot, right? Syrah, cab, Sangiovese, pinot, chardonnay…. there’s a MILLION styles to each of them but Merlot? Merlot is Merlot. Merlot is classic and standard. Nobody tries to prove anything with Merlot. Sure, there might be a Bordeaux-style and a Napa-style, but beyond that?–it’s still merlot. Who’s gonna fuck with Merlot? HOLD MY BEER.
A rich, dirty, ridiculously concentrated nose shimmers up out of the glass. Did you just picture desert mirage? Well: you’re on the right track. Smelling like someone left a heat-gun on overnight in a library, a glossy plasticine acrid coating this *thing* in the background–this monster, this black something-or-other–this clump of nuance I am sure the winemaker and wine-bro call “fruit”. It is a pruney berry macerated so far out of its comfort zone it now serves a wrinkled, strictly ceremonial position, having out-lived and fore-gone any usefulness to the consumer. A certain amount of green stemminess *attempts* at briar and life, but it too drowns in the stew of anger and heat.
This wine smells better than it tastes. Hard to believe, I know. All that burnt tire and asphalt and bitter misery deposits itself onto the tongue with rage to spare. Incomprehensibly concentrated, gummily cloying, repressively black and chewy, chokingly thick and just flat-out terrible on horrific levels, the source of this myriad of ills is hard to place. This is not Merlot. Rombauer is closer to “Chardonnay” than this is to Merlot. Sea Smoke is closer to “Pinot Noir” than this is to Merlot. I’m reminded of the bench tests where people tried to replicate Meomi using ONLY Pinot. It can’t be done. And THIS is not Merlot. Yes, I realize it is almost half CF. It’s not Cab Franc either, sorry. No amount of age will fix this wine, the level of imbalance and absolute dearth of redeeming flavors reflected here are difficult to put into words. Wine like this sets the Central Coast region back DECADES.
2015 JONATA ‘Fenix’ ME/CF/cab/PV 47/30/19/4 Ballard Canyon SYV 14.9