I discovered this label working on a client’s cellar who had insider connections to the ABC empire. A fresh Central Coast transplant, familiar almost exclusively to Northern California wines, I had barely heard of Bien Nacido, but soon it became apparent the various blocks were FAR more known for Burgundian and Rhone varieties than Merlot. At the time, Makor–a personal project of the winemaker–was nowhere near as readily available in retail as it is now, but even today, the prices remain astonishingly low. Found this dusty guy lurking in the cellar, headed into a decade and expecting a bit of typical Merlot fruit-fade.
A brooding amber brick fills the glass, the nose extremely worn and smoothed, with fruit feeling more Maraschino than bright. Leather and earth are likewise polished down into savory velvet along the candied berry. A bit of asphalt and petrichor round things out, with no sharp points to be seen.
In the mouth, it feels kinda alcoholic, the soft fruit containing a harsh back-bite of heat and still-racy tannin. Mellow of stuffing, the fruit is indeed polished *close* to vapidity. Harsh green vegetal headed toward brushiness and bell pepper stab at the middle, before the peppery burn hits hard, nearly collapsing the smooth, sweet berry. Fun to drink–wouldn’t want to keep it waiting a DAY longer, pick these up all over the Central Coast and distributed lightly beyond. They run 20-25 bucks and are stupidly delicious wines for the pedigree and price.
2013 MAKOR Merlot ‘Westside’ Bien Nacido Vyd Santa Maria Valley Santa Barbara Co. 13.5