McReynolds Wines Merlot NV: Dark ruby color; cherry nose; plum, blackberry, some bramble, tobacco, and spice on the palate.
By all accounts, Mac and Maureen McReynolds are wonderfully embracing couple with warm-fuzzy hospitality (they certainly were in my brief meeting with them at the San Angelo Wine & Food Festival) and their small log cabin tasting room near Cypress Mill, Texas receives raves for its conviviality and rustic charm. As happens with many Texas wines, this is jolly couple playing out their dreams in the Texas Hill Country on the Texas Hill Country Wine Trail. While I was somewhat apprehensive, given the plain label and some preliminary research into other’s tasting notes, this merlot is not terrible (which I know sounds like damnation with faint praise, but is meant to mean pleasant surprise). It is simple, rustic, with a black currant tang on the finish and more tannin that you expect from merlot. It is not delicious in the standard soft-mouth, mellow merlot sense, rather it has rustic charms that grow on you as you sip. People often ask me what wines tasted like long ago (as if I could know), and my wild guess is maybe something like this. By the label, this is made with all-Texas merlot grapes, which counts for something. Like many Texas wines, there is a premium built into the price because of the Texas grapes and Texas winery, but most folks drinking Texas wines are making a statement about being Texans and drinking native wines, not searching for extreme value-for-price plays or ascendant pleasures. No harm in that; people pick wines for a lot of worse reasons. If you find yourself on the twisting roads near Cypress Mill, it is worth a stop to visit with Mac and Maureen to enjoy their company and taste their wines, which are not terrible. $20