Not the biggest fan of Merlot, I opened this for a friend who loves it, and we were both impressed. Deeply hued, it’s friendly and bursting with ripe fruit flavors, yet quite nicely balanced. It tastes of blackberries and plums, nicely offset by juicy notes of blueberries and boysenberries. The lingering finish keeps you coming back for more. Quite drinkable alone, it’s a good choice for the table with dishes like duck confit, stuffed quail, or roast beef. This award-winning wine is available at Niner’s tasting room in Paso Robles on Hwy 46 West, and a very good buy at $26 retail.