Weekend Wine: Mouth-watering Merlot

Kendall-Jackson Vintner’s Reserve Merlot Sonoma County 2010, $19: I hope for this wine’s sake Merlot has finally outlived the panning it got in the movie “Sideways.” This is the first Vintner’s Reserve to carry the Sonoma County, instead of California, appellation. And it is ever so fine: It’s an intense, brooding wine that marries mountain fruit with French and American oak barrels. Swirl a glass and catch the cherry, plum and red currant aromas sparked with spice and berries. Fruit is intense and wrapped in acidity and supple tannins. I tasted this wine with K-J winemaker Matt Smith, who grew up in Grosse Point Park, and we both marveled at its richness and balance. It’s widely available in supermarkets and wine shops.