I had a nice find today. Half bottles of Provenances' Merlot Carneros, 2001. Nice balance of red fruit, cherries, and strawberries. Not heavy at all. Does not explode sideways like the Beckstoffer Las Amigas Merlot, but really has some nice integrated tannins and a beautiful long aftertaste. I always liked Tom Rinaldis efforts, first with Duckhorn, and now with Provenance & Hewitt. His Merlots are 100% varietal.
I once had the good fortune of meeting him at a private tasting. He spoke of the fact that his Merlots are not bottles to save for your sons 25th birthday. The host interjected "unless he's 24 now!". This will go a bit more, maybe until the kids 31 or 32.
For $10.99 (375ml) I will go back for as much as I can carry. (unfortunately, I called the store and even though I can carry alot, sadly it will be three).I am usually not a Merlot type of guy, but this is a no brainer... perfect form me, since mine has been known to be missing from time to time.