Ferrari-Carano, Sonoma County (California) Merlot 2004

California Merlot sometimes gets a bum rap these days, but let's be honest: the overall quality of Golden State merlot far surpasses that of today's current darling, pinot noir. Yes, some wines taste too simple, but many more offer vivid flavors and supple textures, just what so many wine drinkers want. This particular merlot is a fine example. Succulently juicy, it exemplifies this Sonoma County producer's preferred style of lush fruit-forward wines enhanced by spicy oak. It's not especially complex and not at all subtle, but the fruit flavors and supple texture prove deliciously enticing.