Best of the Best 2012: Domestic Red Wines: Robert Foley Vineyards 2008 Merlot Napa Valley

Before embarking upon his own vinous enterprise, Robert Foley produced some 15 vintages for Pride Mountain Vineyards, one of the region’s most alluring labels. He has also lent his gifts to such preeminent producers as Hourglass and Switchback Ridge, but his primary passion is currently his own label, for which he makes not only magnificent Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-style blends but also a number of more outré varietals, including Charbono and Pinot Blanc. Yet of his recent releases, the Robert Foley Vineyards 2008 Merlot Napa Valley (www.robertfoleyvineyards.com, $52) stands out for its deftly articulated beauty. This dense red offers up aromas of black cherry, Dutch cocoa, and toasted marshmallow, and washes the palate in a profusion of luscious cherry, plum, blackberry, and coffee flavors.

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