Merlot has always had followers, including me. In spite of the ups and downs of the market, Merlot has been a deifier of trends and the truly quality Merlot out there has held its value. Case in point: Jed Steele’s Stymie Merlot, which he has been making for two decades. This 2016 offers earthy notes of dark fruits, black cherry, black berry and a subversive acidity that snakes its way through the wine. It also offers up light tobacco, elements of mocha, vanilla and sandlewood. What’s unique about this wine is that this fruit is not the usual suspects (Napa, Sonoma) it is from the often-overlooked Lake County and these vines are 20 years old, so there’s a depth of maturity to this fruit. 22 months in French and American oak barrels rounds out its overall mouth feel.
ORIGIN: Lake County, California
PRICE: $42 (750ML)
SCORE: 91 POINTS