The Merlot grouping consisted of a 2010 Volcanic Hills, 2009 Bonitas Winery Artist Series and 2011 Hester Creek Block 2 Reserve. The favorite Merlot was the Hester Creek Merlot. For a relative unknown winery, Bonitas Winery Merlot received almost as high a rating as Hester Creek’s. But all felt that it was not worth a $6 premium.
The Shiraz wines were 2010 Mission Hill Reserve, 2011 LaFrenz Rockyfeller Vinyard and 2011 Black Hills. The Black Hills Syrah was judged to be the best, while the Mission Hill Shiraz was determined to be the best value for dollar.