2012Paloma2012 Paloma, Merlot, Spring Mountain, Napa Valley.
I don’t drink that much Merlot, I confess, I never have really, but I really like a good one, either Washington (Think Leonetti) or California (Like Ridge) in the new world or “Right Bank” Bordeaux in the old world, plus my secret favorite place for Merlot, Italy, so it was a wonderful surprise to taste the latest Paloma, it is surely one of the best I’ve had in ages. Paloma, influenced by Duckhorn of old and Pride, not too far away on Spring Mountain, is crafted by the Richards family, now led by Sheldon Richards and his mom Barbara, after the sad loss of Jim Richards a few years ago, it is nice to see Sheldon honor his late father and is dream to make great wine from this historic site, he is crafting some of the best wines to date and the future is looking great for Paloma. The 2012 Merlot is rich and dark with a full bodied, full throttle feel, but wonderfully balanced with depth and supple, but firm ripe tannins that makes this charmer an old school California dynamic, it certainly reminds me of the late 1980’s or early 1990’s in it’s style with lots of dark fruit, briar, bramble spices and a Cabernet like presence in the glass. In fact there is plenty of Cabernet in the blend, as much as 20% in some years, this is a huge plus for such a stylish mountain wine and adds complexity and power, not that you need too much power, as the Merlot gown up here is pretty intense anyway. The nose has hints of spring flowers, forest berries, a hint of pencil lead, smoky embers and a mix of sage and cassis leading to a mouth filling palate of blackberry, plum, red currants and sweet cherries along with tobacco leaf, cedar, vanilla and a touch of licorice. This is a wine that begs for roast duck, prime rip or grilled steak, though you could sail through a cheese plate with this Merlot as well, I tasted this Paloma along side Silver Oak and Caymus Cabernets and if I’m honest, it blew them away in every way, shape and or form, be sure to check out Paloma when you want a true Napa classic, and especially when you compare the quality/price to other offerings, the Paloma is a solid deal, drink from 2016 to 2024.
($50 Est.) 92 Points, grapelive

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