This new Merlot at Fresh & Easy is a member of one the new wine lines at Fresh & Easy. Given their mid-teens prices, it would seem the Barrel Ranch wines are meant to be part of Fresh & Easy's top-shelf domestic portfolio (though they're still stocking higher-end "outside" wines like Simi's Sonoma Merlot).
Given this top-shelf expectation, the Barrel Ranch Merlot was a bit of a let down. It's not a bad wine, by any means, and features a bright cherry and plum flavor profile. Still, it seemed a bit generic and soft-spoken, something particularly surprising given the high quality of the ~$5-cheaper WineWrights line. I suspect I'll give this Merlot another try to be more certain that this bottle didn't catch me on a bad day.
Total value: 10.5/15