Tonight’s occasion: 2008 Merlot by ParaVi Vineyards, Camino, Sierra Foothills, California.
Very warm tight nose. The heat is immediately obvious. It needs to be decanted for an extended period. Swirling vigorously unlocks bursts of sweet cherry, vanilla, subtle mineral terroir and faint licorice. You would almost miss that signature Merlot berry which is very restrained and buried beneath all the layers.
Body is moderately acidic. It is surprisingly dry, especially given its nose. Only subtle Merlot berry carries through from the nose accompanied by an equal dose of oak vanilla. Both work well to tame the otherwise massive tannin and spice which quickly dominate the body, unveil solid structure and balance. Black currant makes very brief appearance just before a finish characterized by a dry, firm tannic grip. Heat and spice is unmistakable and very much present throughout the entire experience.
Nothing about this wine says it is 12 years old. This is why I stay mostly off the beaten path. I don’t think there are any bottles of this wine left as the Winery closed many years ago. This well built wine from the humble Merlot grape has always been a shining example of the hidden talent you can find in this region if you look hard enough.
Every one of my last few bottles will be a bittersweet affair 🍷😔🙏🏽