Ancient Peaks: Merlot with a statement
Looking for a Merlot that will stand up to the Cabernet snobs? Look no further than south end of Paso Robles in California. There, the right combination of summer day’s heat and cool ocean nights combine to put a delicate power in a grape that is often mis-characterized as wimpy.
One of Paso’s best Merlots is created by Ancient Peaks in Santa Margarita. This Merlot has been continuing a tradition of excellence since its introduction years ago.
Its bouquet is loaded with ripe cherry and combinations of spices that includes nuances like vanilla, cinnamon, and clove. There is also a slight dusty character along with an earthy character, lending a nice complexity to the overall aroma.
In the mouth, there is a touch of blackberry added to the cherry component. Combined with laid-back tannins and a peppery acidity, this is instantly a convenient food pairing blend. The finish is peppery with a little buttery accent that holds your interest.
This is a perfect wine for a winter’s evening along with some French dip or a hearty stew. There are many who would pair this with a steak, but that may be where Ancient Peak’s Cabernet wins out.
This wine is also interesting to compare in a side-by-side tasting with a French wine like Chateau Tour de Bessan Margaux, 2012 (Total Wine prices it at about $25). You may discover why Ancient Peaks’ 2013 Merlot is such a great value at about $18. It can be found at Phoenix area AJs.
Enjoy, and this Merlot will improve on the rack for 3-5 more years. It may also turn out to be quite age-worthy for a wine in this price range.