Toad Hollow Merlot 2012: Dark red with some translucence; raspberry, cherry nose; cherry, cranberry, raspberry, some toasty oak on the palate;
soft, excellent acidity (3.35 pH), little sourness on the finish, slight tannin. The fruit comes from the Richard McDowell Vineyard on the northern edge of the Russian River Valley in what was a Golden Delicious apple orchard. Toad Hollow’s mission is to produce fine wine at a fair price; they certainly achieve the fair price with this effort, but I would classify the wine as an everyday, burger and pizza effort you can pop and pour, very approachable, good value-for-price. The winery’s name comes, according to the winery’s charming website, from the original owners, Dr. Toad (Todd Williams) and The Dancing Badger (Rodney Strong), two old friends who decided to start a winery in 1994 instead of enjoying retirement. It remains family owned today, although—from the website: “Heaven is a livelier place these days as both Dr. Toad and Mr. Badger have left their wine glasses with us here on Earth, but we know that these fine gentlemen toast us regularly, as we do them!” Frankie Williams, Todd’s widow, runs the winery today. Folks who enjoy value merlots should be as happy as a toad sunning on lily in a Thomas Kinkade-painted pond scene when quaffing this effort. $13-15
Toad Hollow website
Second photo: A page from the winery’s website.