Profile: PlumpJack was founded by the future Mayor of San Francisco Gavin Newsom and Gordon (son of J. Paul) Getty in 1995. But the label's winemaking facility and Oakville vineyard are steeped in Napa history, both dating back to the 1800s. From its beginning, PlumpJack has focused on Cabernet Sauvignon. Its Reserve Cab has garnered much critical acclaim (and reached international notoriety as one of the first age-worthy, American reds to be bottled with a screw cap closure). But over the years, the winery's label has expanded to include Syrah, Chardonnay and Merlot.
2010 Merlot Varietal/Style: Merlot
Origin: Napa Valley, CA Vintage: 2010 Winemaker: Aaron Miller Rating:15/20 Retail Price: $52
The 2010 Merlot offers classic Napa ripe fruit flavors that are balanced by zippy acidity. Its nose is bright and complex with plum and blackberry, cinnamon and toasted oak. Up front fruit flavors feature sweet black currant with roasted plum and raspberry notes toward the mid-palate. Rich fudge, cinnamon and espresso notes linger on the finish. A big, winter warmer of a wine, it would work on its own, sipped in front of a roaring fire. Or pair it with rustic meat dishes like succulent short ribs or pot roast.