Mercer Estates Winery 2012 Reserve Cavalie, Horse Heaven Hills, $42

The top scoring red wine from the 2016 Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo International Wine Competition – judged last fall – enjoys another impressive ride with a different set of judges. Jessica Munnell develops this in a Right Bank Bordeaux style, leading with Merlot (52%) and skillfully blending Cabernet Sauvignon (27%), Malbec (17%) and Petit Verdot during her first vintage as head winemaker for the Mercer family. Aromas of toasted oak, black cherry, black currant, vanilla bean, nutmeg and clove. Its plummy entry leads to a blend of pomegranate and blueberry with a finish of bittersweet chocolate and raspberry. The sturdy frame is built to age, but folks in Texas and beyond can enjoy this now with a well-marbled steak. This earned a gold medal at the 2016 Cascadia Wine Competition.

Rating: Outstanding!

Production: 270 cases

Alcohol: 14.7%

Winery website

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