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Wine of the week: McManis Merlot 2015

mcmanis merlotThe McManis merlot is a revelation: California red wine that doesn’t taste like grape juice on steroids

My pal Dave Falchek, a fine wine writer, has insisted for the past couple of years that the McManis wines are better than my beloved Bogle, perhaps the last great California cheap wine brand. This year, the blog’s readers agreed with Dave, and McManis won the cheap wine poll. The McManis merlot shows why.

The McManis merlot ($10, purchased, 13.5%) was a revelation. And I say this not just because I don’t enjoy merlot, but because it’s almost impossible to find California merlot at any price that tastes like it’s supposed to. Too many are jacked up with so much sweet fruit and fake oak (yes, even the pricier ones) that they make me sigh and reach for a glass of Spanish tempranillo.

The McManis, though, tastes like merlot – blueberry fruit, just the right heft for merlot (not as much as cabernet sauvingon, more than pinot noir), and a little of the silkiness that I expect to find in New World merlot. Plus, the finish isn’t bitter or too short, and even shows a little earth.

Highly recommended, and headed for the $10 Hall of Fame this week to join the McManis petite sirah. Perhaps more important: It goes into my red wine rotation, the wines I buy regularly. It’s perfect for a Tuesday night takeout dinner, and can even hold its own if I feel like cooking.

Welcome to the club, McManis.