Blackstone Winery is perhaps best known for the California Merlot they produce in large quantities; there are quite a few other selections in their line. With their Sonoma Reserve tier of wines Blackstone has aimed to offer alternatives to their budget friendly line of wines. Today I’ll look at the Merlot in their Sonoma Reserve series and see how it stacks up both on its own and as a counterpart to their more ubiquitous release of the same grape. The 2007 Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Merlot was produced from fruit sourced in Alexander Valley (45%), Dry Creek Valley (22%), Sonoma Coast (15%), Carneros (10%), Sonoma Valley (2%), and San Joaquin County (6%). The fruit for this wine was handpicked. In addition to Merlot (85%), Cabernet Sauvignon (7%), Ruby Cabernet (6%), and Petit Verdot (2%) were blended in. Barrel aging occurred over a period of 20 months in a combination of French, American and Hungarian oak; both new and older barrels were utilized. 27,000 cases of this offering were produced and the suggested retail price is $20.
First off I should mention that I found that this 2007 Merlot really benefits from aeration. An hour in the decanter really helped it come to life and shine. Blackberry and boysenberry pie aromas fill the extroverted nose of this wine along with hints of chocolate. The berry theme continues through the palate though it’s supplanted by vibrant red cherry notes as they take the lead role. Tons of earth, chicory, and dark, dusty baker’s chocolate emerge in the finish. This wine has a fine tannic structure and solid acidity.
The 2007 Blackstone Sonoma Reserve Merlot is a solid wine for the money. If you normally drink their California Merlot you’ll find that this is a couple of steps up in complexity, structure and length. With 27,000 cases out there it won’t be hard to find either.