Merlot came out of nowhere a decade ago to become one of the hottest red wines and it still ranks second only to Cabernet Sauvignon in sales. The land rush for Merlot plantings yielded a lot of grapes grown in the wrong places, usually too warm, making for wines that are simply soft and fruity, with no structure.
Candor takes advantage of excellent vineyard spots all over the state, from Paso Robles to Lodi to Santa Barbara County. The mix of fruit makes for a Merlot that has plenty going on: plummy, dark stone fruit, spice and a hint of smoke, and just enough grip on the finish to round out the package. The maturity and development of the base vintage is balanced by a splash of freshness from the next; the result may not fit into a vintage pigeon-hole, but it tastes delicious.