Clear bright transparent ruby–slightly staining. The word ‘bright’ is going to come up a LOT in this post, I’m just warning you. I haven’t even begun to consider any of the flavor or aroma profiles and already referenced the word myself three of four times. The label is bright, it pours bright, you can smell a brightness even before you pour–when the cork first comes out.
Nutty bright-brier base, raw and fresh, pulls honeyed-peanut butter and black cherry effortlessly from the glass. Latex and wet straw contribute an earthiness completely unencumbered by rich oak or heavy chocolate–two items fairly synonymous with making Merlot palatable to the supermarket shopper. The IPOB-ish sort of lithe rawness, balance and vegetal spirit give adolescence and ‘fresh-scrubbed’ a new definition. Definitely a place-mark with this variety.
With air, the wine settles down into light milk chocolate and herbs de Provence, delicate, interesting, and… well, bright. It’s just flat out bright. Not to be confused with what they do with their Carignane–THAT sort of brightness is a whole different ballgame. And a whole different review. No, this one definitely remains true to Merlot–like a satellite wine–crisp and clean, lean and mean–but branded in sunny California.
In the mouth, bright cherry Jolly-Rancher rules the roost, tempered with dank bark and bitter rusty boat perfection. Lemon-zest minerality courses through and dominates the fruit, bringing everything together to a kissing point of bright perfection, but allowing the INCREDIBLE bright bright fruit to sing and sing. Only in the finish do you feel the full roundness of California and elegance Merlot administers on its fans, where effusive tannins carry dark dense concentration off into rich, velvet curtains. This is a Merlot SOOOO fun to drink, bright and effusive, but carries the weight the variety deserves perfectly.
2015 AMPLIFY WINES Merlot Santa Ynez Valley Santa Barbara Co. 14.1