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Rich tannins coat the mouth with ripe boysenberry, black cherry, mocha, espresso and cardamom characters. Keyes. Because of the intrinsic power in the Merlot itself, you’ll also recognize that the percentage of Cabernet Sauvignon this year went down while still maintaining that weight and burst of flavor. This is a Merlot for the ages and something that winemaker Chris Carpenter is hopeful you will feel comfortable carrying in your cellar for 15 to 20 years.
To my surprise, the top wine of the La Jota red quartet is the 2012 Merlot W. S. Keyes, a limited production 300-case cuvée made from 83% Merlot and 17% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 100% new French oak. Notes of sweet earth, iron, black cherries, blackberries, mocha and unsmoked cigar tobacco are found in this full, thick, sensationally rich Merlot. It is one of the finest Merlots I have tasted from California over recent vintages. Drink it over the next decade.