Why should you care? The very cool 2011 growing season and rain- and fog-plagued October presented a stiff challenge to grape-growers and winemakers across California’s North Coast, especially for late-ripening grape varieties like cabernet sauvignon, which often rotted before they reached full ripeness. But thanks to the very small crop, there are plenty of aromatically complex, intensely flavored 2012 cabernets—and the success rate for earlier-ripening varieties was distinctly higher.
What does it taste like? Mark Herold, who has established a track record for making hugely rich, chocolatey-ripe cabernets since he created the Merus brand in 1998, crafts some distinctive, very reasonably priced blends under his eponymous label. His 2011 Flux Red Wine California, a blend of 68% grenache, 17% syrah and 15% mourvedre from vineyards all over California, offers brisk aromas of cherry and spices accented by pepper. It’s juicy and penetrating, but also displays good depth to its sharply delineated flavors of dark fruits, sexy oak spices, minerals and bitter chocolate. Tannins are firm but not dry on the lingering, energetic finish. According to Herold, this wine’s key to success was the fact that these three varieties ripened much earlier than the cabernet sauvignon. My score: 91 points.
How much does it cost? $30