BEST OF CLASS, GOLD MEDAL - 96-Points 2022 LA International Wine Competition
Certainly one of the best Merlot's I have ever sourced, Lot 222 comes to us from a spectacular hillside vineyard in Rutherford. According to my conversations with the winemaker, this fantastic Merlot was originally intended to be the inaugural launch to fit into the wineries long-standing hillside Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve program (which sells out of the winery in the mid-$100's) but fell victim to both COVID-related balance sheet considerations and the fact there would be no 2020 version of the wine (due to the fires). The planned price point was well north of $100/bottle. NOTE: other facts have entered the picture and it now appears the winery and vineyards were sold but not the brands so original ownership is discontinuing the high-end estate programs.
A built-to-the-nines, no-expense spared offering, Lot 222 features glass staining color and is resplendent with ripe, vibrant fruit, beautiful oak, and gobs of chewy structure. This ain't no wimpy Merlot. And, due to the terrifically approachable 2019 vintage, this wine will be quite approachable even as early as this Fall. Hell, its drinking quite nicely now at 5-weeks, the depths of bottle shock.
Deep ruby, almost opaque, with a vibrant purple rim. Glass-staining, iridescent purple. High-toned purple fruit is electric and singing alongside chocolate covered cherries, leather and seasoned oak haloed in classic Rutherford Dust. Supple and smooth, even juicy, on entry turning rich and extracted in the mid-palate with robust, oaky tannins splaying out across a long, lip-smacking, hedonistic finish. Fantastic!
98% Merlot, 2% Cabernet, 100% Rutherford
60% new French and American oak, (75/25 split) 14.8% alc. 250 cases available Bottled June 1st, 2021