Grapevines are tough and durable. Their roots reach over 30 feet into the ground and can survive in conditions that would starve other plants. The Merlot grape is revered for being one of the most resilient. It’s taken such a beating. I’m not just referring to references in the media, turning Merlot lovers into pinot lovers. Sadly, these people missed a brilliant Merlot metaphor, making it the star of the movie over its temperamental bud. Merlot has also had a tough time throughout history because of overplanting, overproduction, and the substandard quality that comes with anything that’s overproduced.

Yet, it remains a favorite when it’s done right. I can’t just buy blind; I have to try a Merlot before I buy. But the A. Rafanelli consistently hits the mark. Dave Rafinelli is a big star in a small class of Merlot producers that’s doing it right. The deep, rich, warm, elegant, dark fruit flavors make it a wine to sip standalone or pair with just about any meal and the long almost chocolaty finish makes you feel sexy. If you can find a better Merlot than this, I’d like to know about it.

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