What? No vintage, no varietal, broadest possible appellation? (Except for California, or American, of course.) Well, that's just the label - the wine is 2011 Paso Robles Merlot, but in the face of justified and unjustified prejudice (overcropping and planting in the wrong areas, and that idiotic film respectively) and in the interest of mystifying consumers and snobs (especially sommeliers, who are trained to deduce variety and origin of unknown wines, but Elvis forbid you set 99% of them free in a winery without adult supervision) I decided to release this wonderful swill without admitting on the label what was in it. (It's in a burgundy bottle, to make it even funnier.) 83% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Syrah/Petite Sirah/Souzao topping wine.
Why bother making a Merlot at all, you sharply ax? Well, the spring freeze that hit Paso last year dramatically reduced the yields in many vineyards, and the Merlot and Cab. Franc blocks that are in this wine were barely two tons per acre. That's half their average yield, and a much smaller fraction of what goes into the supermarket plonk that gave Merlot a bad name even before that witless film came out. (No, I haven't seen it, I was warned away by friends concerned for my sanity.) Two brand new 69 gallon French oak barrels worth, a little less than a ton, 56 cases made. $50 in the tasting room, which is why you should join the no-obligation Friends, Family, Fans and Stalkers wine club by giving me your email address . . . it'll save you a pile.