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beringer knight valleyNapa gets all the acclaim but Sonoma is no slouch when it comes to growing the Bordeaux varietals. 2008 was a solid vintage for Sonoma Merlot and this affordable bottling, a Merlot dominated blend, is aging well.

Sumptuous aromas of ripe, dense blackberry, toasted oak, and raisin, are enlivened by the  hints of earth and old leather just beginning to appear.

It is quite dark and full bodied on the palate, showing plum and chocolate, with emerging kalamata olive flavors. Bright acidity give the wine plenty of movement on the palate, with a satisfying late surge of flavor transitioning to a medium-plus finish. The tannins are beginning to soften but are still quite drying and a little brash. It is just starting to reach its peak, the tannins could use more softening, the raisin notes should become more leathery. It will hit its peak in 2 to 3 years and will not fade fast.

Poised and acquiring elegance, not exceedingly complex but I enjoyed the sense of fullness and completeness of this wine.

Score: 92

Price: $33

Alc: 14.2

Dark but not brooding, a bluesy elegance like Beck’s Soul of a Man