Review: 2006 Franciscan Merlot Napa Valley

A Wolf in Sheeps Clothing

Bottom Line:  A Super Tuscan masquerading as...not a Super Tuscan.  Pick it up anyway and either soak the label off or brown bag it. $16 or so.

The Rest Of The Story: (Disclosure: this wine was received as a press sample.)  This whole blind tasting business can be a bit unnerving at times.  But it does speak a truer truth.


Here's the deal with this wine:  It kicks ass, but not in the way you'd expect it to.  Read the tasting notes below and you'll understand why unveiling it was such a mind-blower...

Consummately Italian - that fresh acidic embrace is unmistakable.  But this has more- much more...body, polish, finess, and a fruit component you can't help but flirt with.  Long tannins call you back for another quenching burst.  Could pass for a Super Tuscan or even a high end Sant' Antimo.  Elegant, delightful, and unabashedly cosmopolitan.  You could drink a lot of this.

Then, voila.  The bag comes off the bottle and...WTF?  Wow.  Speechless.  Embarassed, almost.  Either we completely missed this or there was a mishap on the bottling line.  And it might not be an isolated incident - we mistook a Franciscan Cab as a Zin, too.  Regardless, refer to the tasting notes.  Ding them for misrepresenting the varietal if you want, but Merlot isn't exactly suffering from too much prestige these days - and it's a damn fine beverage, whatever the label says.