After feeling pretty "meh" about the 2008 Blackstone Winemaker's Select Merlot a few months ago, I was skeptical opening this sample of the Sonoma Reserve, valued at around $20 and obviously from the same winery. Not sure whether it was the varietal or the process behind it, I thought I'd give it a second chance, and was very happy with the results.
I corked the bottle to accompany a dinner of homemade turkey, mushroom and caramelized onion pizza hoping for a miracle, and perhaps since it's the Christmas season, I got one. Alongside the pizza, the deeply violet-maroon wine was smoky, spicy and velvety, making me swoon with that first, surprisingly pleasurable and silken sip. With a smooth combination of chocolate, spices, coffee, oak and cherries, it was, in a word, luscious.
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It wasn't quite the Joan Holloway of wines like one of my favorites, 2007 Alto Las Hormigas Vineyard Selection Reserva Malbec, but more like the slightly older, slightly more elegant, slightly more refined (but still seemingly fun and flirty), Catherine Zeta Jones.