MerlotMe: Jayson Pahlmeyer's 2013 vintage from Napa

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Self-educated wine geek Jayson Pahlmeyer has had a golden touch with fermented grapes all his life, including the time he purchased 12 cases of magnums of Robert Mondavi’s inaugural vintage of 1966 Cabernet Sauvignon. Robert would later have to go to Jayson for bottles to celebrate the opening of Opus One in the early 1980s. (Image courtesy of pahlmeyer.com)

PAHLMEYER prepares wine lovers to recognize luxury with their eyes first, then with their palate. Take for example the Pahlmeyer Napa Valley Merlot 2013: The bottle makes a statement with its elegant, understated label and the sheer weight of the glass — 2 and a half pounds empty — and then there’s the price: SRP is $85. But the taste experience has to match up, and it does. The 2013 Merlot is a master performer: Flavors are so savory, so rich, soft and creamy it’s like experiencing food rather than drink. Trial lawyer Jayson Pahlmeyer, who became enthralled with wine as a college student and self-educated himself in the subject, founded the Napa Valley winery with partner/vineyard owner John Caldwell with the goal of producing a California Mouton and planted Bordeaux clones in 1981. He launched his flagship wine — Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red — in 1986. Thanks to a series of topnotch winemakers, and the development of estate vineyards and glowing words from wine critics, his wines took off.

October is #MerlotMe month at wineries around the world.

October is #MerlotMe month at wineries around the world.

Pahlmeyer Merlot Napa Valley 2013, $85: The near-perfect growing season in 2013 yielded this big, elegant, brightly flavored beauty that’s like a mind-bending concert in your mouth. The fruit is robust boysenberry, raspberry and dark plum with notes of dark chocolate, vanilla and herbs. It’s soft and creamy on the palate, with vibrant acidity and a deft weaving of French oak. It was aged 20 months in barrels. The winery says it will taste best after 2019, and will grow increasingly opulent after 15 years of cellaring. Which is pretty believable when you taste the depth of flavors, the power, the complexity and balance.

You can reach Sandra Silfven at ssilfven@hotmail.com.