While I wanted to save my reviews of Toad Hollow’s wines for a featured winery piece to come soon, I have to take advantage of a recent picture I took of the Raven Theater Marquee in Healdsburg, CA.

I opened up the 2005 Merlot Reserve, Richard McDowell Vineyard, Russian River Valley, 14.5% alc,  last week to pair with a hearty beef stroganoff. It was a beautiful rich purpley burgundy color. I used a cup of the Merlot in the recipe in place of water, and I served the stroganoff with the wine.

My first thought, putting nose to glass was “f***, that’s a nose!” I’m not great at self editing my interior monologue, and clearly I am prone to the occasional curse in my private thoughts.

The nose is just full of big, bold, juicy, ripe fruit. Deeply floral, plum, rose, dark stone fruit, black cherry, black berry and cassis.

The mouth is incredible smooth and drinkable, open, and ready (I forgot it was a 2005) to drink. Black cherry and black berry, anise. Nice balance of acid and tannin.

A really soft wine with a nice lingering tapering finish.

The wine is gorgeously elegant, loaded with lush fruit through and through.

Thoroughly delicious and a QPR (quality to price ratioo) steal at $16, the 2005 Toad Hollow Merlot reserve is made from 100% Merlot grapes grown on a sandy bench three miles south of Healdsburg and Toad Hollow proudly claims a wine that demonstrates a sense of place, or terroir.

I poured myself a second glass about an hour after dinner, for dessert, and as I put my nose to the glass, again my first thought was “f***!” Translated, that means I loved this wine and was just completely impressed and delighted with it.

Disclosure: I received the 2005 Toad Hollow Merlot Reserve reviewed as a sample.


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