This was a surprise. Sure, Raymond Vineyards is known for their Merlots, which are ubiquitous on store shelves and on restaurant wine lists—but this often signals a turning point in the life of a winery where soulless machines are taking over the heart and soul of the winemaking to meet production demand. So, imagine my surprise to find out that, given a slight requirement of suspension of disbelief, it isn’t that far-fetched to think you’re drinking something out of the right bank of Bordeaux when sipping the 2007 RAYMOND R Collection Merlot. You can taste the artisanal craft in the pleasant acidity that greets you after encountering the youthful ripeness of the full cherry and plum fruit at the center of the wine’s medium-weight body. Mouthwatering and crowd friendly, this is an instant go-to for entertaining with friends. –J.M.
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