Terra Nativa Vineyards 2012 Reserve Merlot, Idaho, $40
Treasure Valley developer Richard Pavelek dotes on his vines of red Bordeaux varieties grown in the foothills east of Boise, making his perhaps the state’s highest elevation site for ongoing viticulture — 3,100 feet. His focus on estate fruit explains why Terra Nativa is one of Idaho’s tiniest wineries with an annual production of 600 cases. Here, Pavelek has crafted a superb Merlot with classic aromas of coffee, red plum, a hint of oak and black fruit. On the palate, it’s smooth with notes of black cherry and a hint of vanilla for a beautifully balanced mouth feel. This earned a gold medal and best of class at the 2016 Idaho Wine Competition.
Production: 56 cases