Downright Steal Red Blend
Mark Herold, writes Robert Parker, “first came to my attention because of the brilliant wines he produced under the name Merus.” Parker says “Mark Herold is known for his full-throttle, massively extracted, rich Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines” and now “He has recently introduced wines that are all excellent values.” None more so than this 2012 “Flux” — a $13.99 red blend that Parker has said is “delicious and could easily pass for a Côtes du Rhone in a blind tasting.” I’ll add this: while most of us can’t afford to drop seven bills on Mark’s 98-point Mastodon (offered only in Magnum for $800), locking into a case of this black-fruited, sultry, voluptuous red blend is as smart a buy as I can think of. Flux is produced with the same magic-touch, and is a superb red — at 50% off the release price it’s a downright steal.
Herold soaked up wisdom and success at his first wine gig, as a research enologist at Joseph Phelps. He would go on to found Merus, which Wine Spectator called “one of California’s most exciting new wineries.” Operating out of a converted garage alongside his wife, he started releasing Cabernets that were instant collectibles, scoring in the high 90s. He also began working on the side for a half-dozen high-profile California wineries, including Kamen and Hestan, leading Spectator to call him “one of Napa Valley’s best-known Cabernet winemaking consultants.”
After Merus, Herold took a break from Cabernet to turn his attention to Southern Rhône varieties with this Flux red. Following in the steps of California’s famous Rhone Rangers, he sourced exceptional fruit from coveted sites like Oakville Ranch, Stagecoach and Hudson Vineyard. This concentrated, chewy blend combines 84% Grenache, a dollop of savory Mourvèdre, and a splash of dark, dense Syrah in a soul-warming California Côtes-du-Rhone-inspired red that is simply an unbeatable value.
Editor-in-Chief, Wine Access
Cristaldi has worked in the wine industry for nearly a decade as a professional writer, critic, and educator. His published work has appeared in national print and online outlets including Food & Wine, Los Angeles Magazine, SOMM Journal, and many others.