Tonight I am cooking a standing rib roast in my Big Green Egg- something I have never done before. I figured it was a good time to crack this Napa Merlot open and give it a try. It’s got a nice purple hue and is about 70% opaque. Thin legs in the glass hint at the 13.4% alcohol. On the nose I get rich plums, perhaps some blackberry and toasty oak. The initial palate is delicious with plum torte, blackberry coulis, some smoked wood, Tobacco and some fruit cake. The mid palate has exceptionally integrated tannins and really nice acidity. The plum and blackberry flavors are very much present but I’m starting to get a dark cola note. The finish is very rounded with the tannins and acidity in perfect balance. I can almost taste the California sunshine in this wine. Merlot is such a supple, rounded varietal that has been unfairly thrashed of late. I really enjoy this particular profile and am going with 92 points. Drink till 2028 with any grilled meat, rich pasta or even by itself. At $33, it gets 5 stars. Salut….