The 2012 Smoking Loon Merlot is sourced from grapes grown in vineyards located inside the Central Valley of Chile. Smoking Loon is one of Don Sebastiani and Sons labels, they are negociants, they find the best deals on excess wine from around the world and sell them under their own label. The 2010 and 2011 Smoking Loon Merlot was sourced from California, the 2012 from Chile. This Merlot was aged with American oak, they do not mention oak barrels. The 2012 vintage in the Central Valley was very hot and dry, which resulted in the grapes ripening 3 to 4 weeks earlier than usual, so this should be a fruit forward, smooth Merlot. The alcohol content is 13.5%.
The color is an almost opaque black cherry red. The nose is dark berries, newly mown lawn, vanilla and a mix of herbs. This is a rich, silky Merlot. It starts with extracted blackberry, plum, vanilla, cranberry and an unexpected hint of Thanksgiving herbs. The mid palate brings along some strawberry and tart cherry in cream. The tannins and soft and the acidity is nicely balanced. The finish is full and lasts a decent length of time.
The 2012 Smoking Loon Merlot is a very solid tuesday night wine, not overly complex, but has rich, bold flavors. Will pair well with comfort food like Blue Cheese Burgers and pepperoni pizza. And it drinks just fine on its own.