Napa, California, USA
$27.99 -- Twin Liquors, Austin, TX
Color: Dark garnet
Nose: Cherry, orange, anis, a touch of heat
Middle: Chocolate, graham cracker
Back: Leather, oak, soft tannins
Burns clean?: Yes
Merlot! I often love it. I visited Silverado Vineyards recently and enjoyed all of the Merlots they poured. They aren't super-complex, but they are charming, and have a nice acidity to balance the usual Napa bigness. And so perhaps unsurprisingly: I'm eating a tomato and avocado with lime and oil and vinegar salady sort of thing, and the 2002 pairs elegantly.
Note: The 2005 is really delightful: it has a healthy dose of mint on the nose and a bit on the palate. This is no coincidence, as there used to be eucalyptus trees around the vineyards from which the grapes came. They were removed after the '05 vintage, however, which I consider a most unfortunate decision. Boo! But...choose your poison, wisely.