Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot 2009

Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot 2009: Candied cherry, plum, blackberry, raspberry; ripe fruit-forward, plenty of sweet oak, vanilla; velvety soft, simple plushness, very reserved tannin and acidity. Will certainly appeal to folks who enjoy the soft, big-in-the-mouth, oak-and-fruit storm style of California reds. Merlot is like a movie starlet who makes a big splash (in the 1990s), then struggles in the next part. Merlot’s best role is as a complement to cabernet sauvignon, where it humanizes cab’s austerity and puckering tannins. In U.S., however, it became an entry-level to red varietals for those put off by more serious reds; its pliant softness and gentle tannins were a plus. Then, American palates matured, the movie Sideways came out, and suddenly pinot noir was the next big thing and merlot was so, so last century. This Thomas Fogarty effort has its niche; give it a try. $23-33Thomas Fogarty Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot