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Tinhorn Creek Vineyards 2014 Estate Merlot, Okanagan Valley, $22
Bay Area native Sandra Oldfield, a proud winemaking product of the University of California-Davis, and her team picked from seven blocks of Merlot from their Diamondback Vineyard on the Black Sage Bench for what a number of Canadian wine critics have described as the best work with Merlot by this trendsetting brand. Lead winemaker Andrew Windsor works with cooperages in France, Hungary and the U.S., and that shows with dense toastiness in the nose with hints of Triple Berry Pie that are joined by sun-dried tomato and oregano. Flavors of black currant and blackberry jam on toast come with fine-grained tannins akin to espresso grounds and a pinch of black pepper. This summer, this bottling went on to earn a silver medal at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition. It’s a remarkable effort, especially as one of the largest offerings of Merlot grown and produced in Canada.
Production: 9,105 cases