Staining garnet with amber edges. Initial funk really never blows off, bringing bright grainy brier and subterranean soil heady and large into a nose ripe and flabby border-lining on oxidized. Still, flatulent nondescript fruit dances on a platform of glycerin-ey cassis and vanilla. Everywhere, a worn, alcoholic warmth and gym-sock balances nothing against tired lily and sugar.
There are only a couple kinds of Merlot. Those which scream for your attention and those who delineate themselves in safe, boring obesity and nothingness. This, honestly, heads awkwardly in both directions. On one hand it is rich fruit and careful handling, but on a much wider plane, represents reduction gone awry. I can’t help but peg this at near-15-0. It would have been interesting to taste this on release, but here we have a 5YO offering showing tiny bits of interesting while still succumbing to the ills of over-extraction and hi-alcohol in a grape which demands succinctness and dedication to earth and fruit.
In the mouth, thin vapid and non-eventful, bitter dark fruit faded and transparent, tainted with an acid note nowhere near in relation to the hopeful brightness of the fruit. Harsh un-absolved green tea against a backdrop of battery acid and re-constituted dried apricot. The miserable tannins are just about all that is left, and create what many will call a “long finish”. This could easily be a Paso Robles wine. There is no earth, no delicate nuances of spice or berry, just fat pond-water way past its prime. But, like Paso, it contains JUST ENOUGH oomph and fat bling to woo the tourist crowd into believing they have a massive thing of beauty on their hands. Sorry, Sonoma: I hate to compare you–one of my favorite appellations–to an entire zip-code of belligerent wines, but you clearly brought this on yourself.
2010 ORSIANNA Merlot Mill Creek Sonoma County 14.4