The 2008 Alias California Merlot is 80% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Syrah sourced from multiple California wine AVA’s. Alias is a project put together by 8 unnamed winemakers (hence the Alias name) who are attempting to make “affordable luxury” wines. The website listed on the bottle is not operational, a custom label wine company from Australia has the URL listed, so something is up, maybe a name change is in order. They source their grapes from long term contracts with vineyards and they rent space from several Napa Valley wineries to produce the wine. The Merlot sees some sort of oak aging and the alcohol content is 13.6%.
The color is black cherry with blood red highlights. The nose is cherry, grass clipping, butterscotch, brown sugar and blueberry. Very soft and smooth on the palate, ripe cherry and blueberry upfront, a touch of vanilla and strawberry jam following. You can sense the tannins, you can taste them, but there is no tannin bite. The mid-palate adds black licorice and tea, with a little plum. The finish is blueberry and vanilla and while the intensity fades quickly it does linger on.
The Alias California Merlot makes for a first class, tuesday night on the balcony wine. It grades even better when you consider I found the Alias selling for $8.50, and not from some big box, cheapest wines in town store, but from a boutique, I only sell what I like, wine shop. The Alias winemakers say, “Luxury can be affordable,” and you know something, they were right.