2011 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot

2011 Kendall-Jackson Vintner's Reserve Merlot (Handout photo / January 22, 2014)

From: Sonoma County, Calif.

Price: $24

Serve with: Duck breast, rack of lamb

This is a smooth, suave, sophisticated merlot from a highly commercial winery that I can't help admiring. This is an ideal restaurant red — full-bodied enough to match with serious food, but perfectly ready yo be drunk now. It offers intense black cherry fruit, with subtle herbal notes, and admirable persistence and finish. It just goes down real easy.

--Michael Dresser