41. Mercer Estates 2012 Dead Canyon Vineyard Reserve Syrah, Horse Heaven Hills, $42
Jessica Munnell has access to hundreds of acres of plantings by the Mercers, and while Dead Canyon Vineyard and its 11 blocks and 113 acres are dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon, there are about 5 acres of Syrah. After 26 months in a program of French and domestic oak, this bottling shows seductive aromas of plum sauce, smoky blueberry, strawberry licorice and lavender, backed by chocolate and Horse Heaven Hills dusty minerality. Inside, it offers pleasing balance of acidity and tannin, blending flavors of plum, raspberry pomegranate and smoked meat. Pinches of chai spices, including black pepper, add to the fascination and length.
Production: 48 cases