Iaconis Merlot 2017

Vintage: 2017 

Wine Name/Vineyard: Iaconis

Wine Category: Merlot 

Grape blend: 100% Merlot 

Bottle size: 750 ml 

Region: Napa Valley 

State or country: California 

Price: $39.99 (Membership price $16.99)

ABV: 14.8% 

Cases produced: N/A 

The Barrel Cellar Score:  89 points 

Review date: September 1, 2021 

About the Winemaker: Iaconis Merlot was released, vinted, and bottled by Naked Wines. Naked Wines provides highly skilled winemakers with the opportunity to release their own independent label wines. Additionally, these are wines produced from vineyards located in the best wine making regions in the world.

Making wine might not be rocket science, but apparently it is a lot more fun. Winemaker Matt Iaconis dropped his Aeronautics study at U.C. Davis, in favor of a winemaking degree. He credits the wine making process and watching the wine “progress” as an inspiration to him. Matt considers natural process to be his preferred style of winemaking, forgoing adjuncts for “old school” methods.

Color:  Deep Purple 

Nose:  Bold nose of red berries, plum, cherry, candied apple, and floral notes. 

Taste: Oak, red delicious apple, tobacco leaf, fig, and wild mushrooms Finish: Allspice and black pepper.

Assessment: Perhaps it’s the wine’s heavy ABV talking, but I am impressed with this Merlot. It’s bold, spicy, and coating of the palate (full bodied). While the initial spiciness can be a bit commanding of your attention, once your palate adjusts, the wine opens up nicely and shows great complexity. From a textural perspective, the juice offers low acidity, grippy tannins, and a sustained dry finish. Iaconis Merlot is heavily fruit influenced, but manages not to be fruity or jammy, a sign it was picked at peak potential. This wine is ready to drink now, but will cellar for another week or two.

If value is a concern, this wine is worth every bit of its $40 price tag and is an absolute steal at the membership price of $16.99 

Pairing recommendation:  The wine will overshadow most of what you pair with it, so I recommend pairing with bolder flavors such as wild game, aged cheese, or sweet chocolate. 

The Barrel Cellar rates Iaconis 2017 Merlot 89 points.

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