Dark garnet with wide burnt-cherry edges and considerable sediment. Massive gamy funk explodes out of the glass–tight-wrapped and volatile–packed with mint, eucalyptus, latex and a stunning level of fruit and supple aged cassis. I could smell this wine all day.
It’s tired. A LOT of people are not going to like how this wine smells. I am somewhat in awe the winery sells this and is currently tasting it on the counter. HOW ON EARTH would any Paso tourist staggering between Hammersky and Burbank Ranch POSSIBLY appreciate this wine?!?!? Licorice spice and stunning minerality visible in late-breathing. Scraped steel and cedar shakes. It never slows down. Never washes out. ZERO oxidation.
In the mouth, the age is much more visible. Fruit is not at maximum. Part of the problem is: we are trained on two kinds of Merlot: Napa Merlots and cheap Merlots. This is not lush and massive and velvety and cloaked in layers and layers of sexual oak. Likewise, this is not a cloying fruit-FWD muss created in the lab to the tune of 20k cases. Spicy and cinnamon-laden on the palate, a little heat visible in finish alongside almost-completely-polished tannin. If any flaw, it bitters slightly thin mid-point, AS WOULD BE EXPECTED of a 9yo Merlot. I mean, really. Come’on! It’s $14.99!
It is delightful to drink too. Brash and brilliant, this is only perhaps the 3rd Merlot from Bien Nacido I have tasted. Caparone no longer sources Merlot from Santa Maria Valley. Too sad. Oh well, THIS wine is a winner. The winery retains and the tasting room consistently pours older vintages because THEY CAN. I’d like to see Robert Hall pour a 10yo wine.
2006 CAPARONE Merlot Bien Nacido Santa Maria Valley 13.2