Always nice to see Merlot heading a FULL Bordeaux line-up on a California Meritage. And–after Napa and Sonoma–Santa Ynez Valley is easily my third-favorite BDX-variety-producing region in the US. Dark, black maroon in the glass, nearly impenetrable even at shallow depths. Nice bottle-funk on initial pour, quickly blowing off to reveal rich concentrated berry, smoky and leather-tanned, sweaty newsprint and bursting with 5-spice and wet loam.
In the mouth: a succulent drop perfectly ripe at the core–edged with shards of invigorating acid. The cherubic fullness of Merlot is complemented by the angst of pomegranate pith and crushed seeds. Or is this just Merlot done RIGHT? Blends like this happen occasionally: ones where I would KILL to taste the solo component–without the potential structure of Cab, the fleshy burlyness of Bec, or the pepper and grate of Cab-Franc and PV. But this is a calculated Meritage, and therefore must be taken at present value. It’s very nicely done: the 5 components clearly working together in near-seamless unity. Rich and fleshy to lip-smacking levels, but not slutty or showing a trace of heat. Shocking as this seems for the region, I’m guessing under 14-oh. Cherry firm and bright, blackberry August-soft and melting, briar and grapefruit-dustiness carrying the wine elegantly over a minefield of tannin.
This wine is *almost* too yummy to recommend as a serious cellar candidate, but I own hundreds of CA Bordeaux blends fitting the same description which turn out to be nearly timeless. It’s all about balance–and this has it. In SPADES.
2017 ROSE & SON ‘Queen to Kings’ ME/CF/Bec/Cab/PV 40/27/14/10/9 Santa Ynez Valley 13.8