There is an old advertising line that says “when it rains, it pours” and it seems that lately this has been true, because we just received another parcel from A Taste of Monterey, the original wine club that we joined. We joined this club, way back in the dark days of Michigan wine laws, only because we were informed that they could legally ship us wines. The governor of Michigan was actually sued and lost a court decision, which allowed the residents of the state to actually get wines shipped to their homes. I remember the days when I had to send cases of “olive oil” from California to my work address, until the case was settled, and thankfully it was only a one-term governor, who ended up moving to California afterwards.
I opened up the carton from A Taste of Monterey and the first bottle that I grabbed was Mer Soleil Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands 2017. To my way of thinking and drinking the Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines are as close to French Burgundy wines as I have found and it is consistent. Mer Soleil is a name created from “la mer” or the sea as it is close to Monterey Bay and “le soleil” which means the sun. This winery is actually part of the Wagner Family of Wine, the Wagner family originally began in Napa Valley in 1906 with the purchase of seventy acres of land and the winery was established in 1915, just to be ceased in 1919 by Prohibition. In 1972 the Wagner family re-entered the wine business with the creation of Caymus Vineyards. In 1988 they began planting Chardonnay vines in the Santa Lucia Highlands. In 2001 Charlie Wagner had taken the reins from his father Chuck and began branching out.
This may be one of the largest volume production wines from the Santa Lucia Highlands and unfortunately there is no information on the production of this wine, either from The Wagner Family of Wines or A Taste of Monterey. I will go out on a limb and opine that the wine was probably aged in oak, but for how long, I cannot say. The wine is said to offer a nose of ripe cherries with cocoa, pomace, blueberry, toasted wood and a whiff of lipstick. With flavors of cherry cobbler, cola and a hint of anise, and very fine tannins and a balanced finish. This is a wine that I will probably want to try sooner, rather than later, even with a suggested aging potential of six to eight years.