Sutro’s vineyard-designate Warnecke Ranch bottling is 84 percent Merlot with the balance Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine aged two years in neutral French and Hungarian oak barrels. Only 74 cases of this vintage were made.
This wine evinces the classic sweet-leafiness I associate with Merlot, but it is also anchored by a dark gravitas so rare in New World examples. Profusely perfumed, it suggests rose hips, violets, cassis, fresh cedar, and juniper berry. The palate is gamine; floral but also herbaceous, a potpourri of sweet tea and rose petals, raspberry and its leaf, black and red currants, rosewood. The tannins are suede-like, velvety, but the wine’s acidity flares like a comet at the finish. This is an exquisite and beautiful Merlot, and also a screaming deal.