Deep garnet out to fairly bricking edges. A touch cloudy, but that is my fault, as I transported it directly home only yesterday and opened it tonight. Some sediment in neck, and I am sure there was considerably more at purchase. Also, presented upright at the tasting room from what I assume was considerable storage. Steely, nose with pencil-lead nuances which blow off to some lovely barnyard funk. Quite the opposite pattern from most of the wines I open.
It is always interesting to open an older Merlot: the high-quality ones usually promise most at their initial and fade quickly. This one presents itself differently. Opens with thin notes and blossoms into something far deeper. My Pomerol sensibilities are tingling. My first impressions were of a meager wine quite unpopular with #theamericanpalate and tourist-trade/tasting-room #winemarketing et al. But it turns in the glass into an immensely-fruited situation with a little air. How very bordelais of it. When you can purchase a 15yo wine with winery provenance for 30 bucks, it is a good day for value. Still, I think the general tasting-room public is going to find it about 5$ over-priced from their expectations. But not mine.
Now the roasted-meat, buttery bouquet rife with minerality comes blasting through. In the mouth, sharply acidic and fading of fruit–typical of Merlot–but wait: The air-time is polishing those impression too. Ripe and round with an incredible edge of structure barely polished from the teen-age label denotation. Tarry and woodsy, but not miserably oaked or flatulently ML’d. Holy hell this wine gets better and better. Unlike a fair number of my openings where the *holy hell* quotient comes early and then the whole package settles down into assumed cali normality, this thing starts out as the quiet child and then solves quantum theorems on the board at night. How d’ya like THEM apples? I would say this wine is at its peak, but then it keeps wowing me with less-than-subtle nuances convincing me otherwise. I just can’t tell you how bright this wine is. And we all know what old Merlot does.
Miserably wonderful tannins just put a bow on the box. My initial reaction was to drink this wine NOW and the winery should discount even further, but with a little air I honestly think it has another 5 years. Still, as stated, it will not be a crowd-pleaser with the maxi-skirt crowd. This is serious wine. This is serious Merlot. I can’t help but think the 20% Petit Verdot has a hand in this.
1999 VITA NOVA Acronicus Santa Barbara Co. 13.5