RIDGE Estate Merlot 2012
(Santa Cruz Mountains, CA) $50
California merlots like this have almost disappeared. For more than a decade, most have been hollow and anemic. This powerhouse is the opposite…a deeply complex merlot with a core that’s as soft as molten chocolate and yet a “frame” that’s as structured as a New York skyscraper. Add the explosive finish, and you’ve got one of the best merlots in California. The grapes come from Ridge’s famous Monte Bello vineyard, considered one of the most legendary vineyards in California.