Review: 2019 Rombauer Merlot Napa Valley

Merlot gets a bad rap — sometimes deserved — but Napa’s Rombauer effectively showcases the best qualities of the style with this 2019 bottling… albeit in a roundabout fashion. Notes of fresh cherries, mint tea, and mixed florals all come to bear on a palate that offers ample complexity, though never much comes across in the way of distinction. Merlot’s reputation is most visible here perhaps due to the lack of focus in the wine: It’s an all-purpose, do-anything expression that offers mild tannin, a touch of sweetness, a pinch of greenery, and plenty of fruit. It’s ultra-drinkable, yet hard to pin down. Tasting this blind I probably would not have been able to guess its makeup, though I can’t say for sure if that’s really a bad thing.

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