14 Hands Winery 2012 Merlot, Columbia Valley, $12
Best Buy! With wines of such expression at this price and so widely available, it’s easy to see why this Prosser, Wash., winery is one of the country’s hottest brands. There’s an early savory greeting in the aroma with black olive, and darkness continues with black cherry, blackberry and black licorice, backed with hints of toast, tobacco and baking spices. The drink is remarkably rich from start to finish with flavors of Marionberry jam, black cherry, blueberry and bittersweet chocolate. Silky tannins make for a smooth farewell.
Production: 290,000 cases