Deep staining ruby with bright red edges. Fully expected this to be showing a little brick, but no. Full round and tarry, dark and brooding, I suppose one could say you can smell a certain sweetness to it, but I am just going to call it ripe and round. Classic Napa mineral wound through mint and eucalyptus. Coriander and dirt road.
A local supermarket chain went bankrupt and I wandered in the other day to play the vulture. Stuff was getting pretty picked over, and prices were just *barely* down where they SHOULD be (Full Retail minus 25% is HARDLY a deal, folks). Additionally, this store has a terrible facing policy, so a few reach-behinds yielded some interesting older vintages of–yes, still ‘supermarket’–wine. I have always had a weak spot for Raymond Merlot, and at 13$, I dare you to find a bottle of pure enjoyment with better value.
In the mouth a sharp-sweet concoction displaying even more *roundness* and just plain yumminess. I’m sorry, forget all that snobby shit, this is just yummy, yummy, yummy wine! A brilliant edge of mint and spice toys with supple, deep fruit and all in a delicate rice-paper tissue of oak. Yes, gentle reader, you expected the laying-on of the oak-stick, didn’t you? No, that’s the black label stuff, which used to be called Raymond Reserve. Like a lot of brands, there has been a label-shift upward as cheaper wines are added below. The Raymond Reserve was always an absolute oak BOMB.
This bottle shows beautiful clarity of fruit and a great compliment of oak, but not decadent obfuscation. This is the cheap one–despite the fact the label now says “Reserve Selection”. An oh-so-gentle polish of age ushers this thing out the door with extremely manageable tannin–but enough to combat flabbiness. People message me all the time wanting to know what to buy in the supermarket where they live and seriously: You can’t get much better than this for the buck. Shopped well this thing is 15-20 and worth every penny. Oh, and Pro Tip: Merlot’s are always the oldest wines in any store.
2008 RAYMOND Merlot Reserve Selection Napa Valley 14.5