2019 Inspiration Vineyards, Merlot, Weiler Vineyard, Sonoma Valley.
The 2019 Weiler Vineyard Merlot is expressively fruit forward and juicy with a bright core of youthful red fruits, including smooth layers of raspberry, plum, red currant and vibrant kirsch along with baking spices, toffee and cedar notes in a full bodied and supple wine that should fill out and take on a darker sense with age. Jon Phillips, owner and winemaker and his production manager Dylan Sheldon have rejuvenated this label in recent years and have released a tasty collection of wines, especially good here are the Grenache, Pinot Noir, Syrah and Zinfandel, along with their limited single vineyard series offerings from small vineyards throughout Sonoma County, like this one. This Merlot is sourced from the Weiler Vineyard in the Sonoma Valley, not far from Glen Ellen and Jack London State Park. The label is from original art from a local tattoo artist in Sonoma County and gives the Inspiration wines a more modern look and helps set them apart in a stylish way.

The Inspiration Vineyards lineup features wines are hand crafted small production offerings, usually well under 200 cases of each and are mainly from family farmed sustainable sites and with a couple of estate bottlings. The Weiler Merlot is one of the Inspiration Vineyards rarities that was made with carefully hand harvested and sorted grapes, which were 100% de-stemmed and naturally fermented in an open top fermenter before being raised for just over a year in French oak with a minimum of new oak to allow for this fresh style that highlights the personality of the vineyard, it reminds me of what Napa and Sonoma Merlot was like in the early 1990s. This garnet and ruby colored and ripe Merlot is easy to enjoy with luxurious soft tannin and is very food friendly, being very nice with Fall cuisine, it would be a huge crowd pleaser with the casual and maybe less adventurous wine drinkers that still appreciate quality.
($36 Est.) 89 Points, grapelive

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