Merlot is the number one planted red grape in BC. The majority are disappointing. Maestoso, “Solo”, aims to displace that thinking with this 100 percent merlot from the southern Okanagan. This is the top tier wine in the La Stella portfolio, and one of the priciest reds in BC at $90. Osoyoos and Golden Mile fruit, 17-22 years old, spend 8 months in French oak, 1/3 new, before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Savoury and dense, this barely yielding even after one day open, showing just inky cassis, thick tobacco, espresso on the structured, firm palate. Tannins are rigid, though finely wrought, and well positioned to house the brooding fruit. This is a wine for cellaring, and shows the real potential for classic merlot in the southern Okanagan. Can’t wait to try again in five years.