Not a week goes by where I am not dropping by Purdy’s at least twice. Combing over the racks, waiting for something to catch my eye that I may have missed. This past week I noticed an Oakville district Merlot from one of the original Silver Oak founders, Ray Duncan. The bottle that caught my eye was elegant with a paper-less label—just a shiny, gold, negative space Twomey banner and simple, uncluttered white script outlining the pertinent information. But, that mattered little next to the price: $24.99. More importantly, the suggested retail price, an out-of-my-league $54.99.
It wasn’t until I went back today to snap a Twitpic shot with my Blackberry and inquire about my new find that I realized that I’d been walking past this bottle for 6 months. While I haven’t been buying much Merlot this past spring and summer, this shows the importance of a flea market approach to wine shopping.
This is not a wine that has gone unnoticed by the authorities, earning a 94-point score from Robert Parker in 2002. The ’04 vintage was enthusiastically received by Gary Vaynerchuk of Wine Library TV with a 92+ point score and a strong comparison to the great Merlots of Pomerol.
No monster here—the nose is actually quite honed and nimble. An individualized display of unmuddled fruit offering deep black cherry, sweet red raspberry, tart cranberry and overripe currant. Menthol and cherry liqueur with pine resin on the back-end. The oak becomes more prominent as the wine opens but remains in check.
Opens juicy, not jammy, with fruit that remains structurally lean and flavor rich. Earth and spice profile is distinctly powdery, on the other hand—cocoa powder, chalk, cinnamon, and bitter coffee. There are still plenty of tannins living on the back end despite 6 years of bottle age. This wine offers much to connect with, the least of which is a departure from the characteristics that have given Merlot a bad name as linear, lackluster, and soft—an oak delivery system. No syrup and sap here, and at $25, not a difficult call to make.
Stop by Purdy’s if your interested in a deal. If I had the space in my apartment and my budget, I would snatch a case. $45 is about the bare bones Internet price, so you can stun your friends with the generosity of your wine giving—assuming they Google snoop the value of their gifts, of course. But after they try it, there is a good chance they will.