Wait. Merlot is a Starling.

Bright glowing ruby with thin pink edges.  Somewhat staining.  Heady extraction and alcohol.  A deep sinus-clearing cassis blended with gravel and maple syrup.  Warm carrot cake with cream-cheese frosting.  A depth of spice and breadth of concentration with a refreshing helping of piquantness.  Big and rather ungracefully extracted, but a punchy little wine–young as all get-out–stuffed and present.

Less than expected in the mouth.  The fruit–full and round–hits your tongue and almost cheapens itself with its voluptuousness.  A middle bitter with squished-bug situations and pine-tree-sap turn things *interesting* to say the least but not necessarily unbalanced enough to get bad marks.  I don’t think this is cab.  Maybe a bit of Syrah but am headed in the CF-direction.  A pond-water unsophistication of fruit combined with almost-off-putish spice and pepper notes lead me toward something with a little less *middle* than Cab..  I am not in love with this wine, but it plays well on a lot of levels and there is potential here for something wonderful. And you certainly can’t argued against the price.   I will drink this in 2 years.

2012 BLACKBIRD VINEYARDS Arise Meritage Red Blend Napa Valley  58/32/10  ME/CF/CS  14.6

www.blackbirdvineyards.com

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