One of the nicest, but largely unanticipated rewards of collecting and cellaring wines for future consumption is that one tends to forget, over the years, just what wines have been stored. Tonight I discovered – that’s the appropriate verb – a Di Bruno (Santa Barbara County) 2008 Merlot that had long since vanished from my memory banks. Interestingly enough, although the Di Bruno/Curran folk have their actual winery in the Sta Rita Hills AVA, this wine was one of the earliest produced from grapes in Happy Canyon, the newest and warmest of Santa Barbara County’s AVA’s. Now … regardless of what you think you know about aging wines, there is no hard evidence to guide you about aging wines in general or aging any wine in particular, other than keeping those aging wines in the dark, motionless, and cool. Merlot’s reputation for aging is not at all the same as, say, Cabernet Sauvignon, but the ’08 Di Bruno was spectacular …not only endowed with the soft fruit one normally expects from a Merlot, but with an edgy complexity that made it a wonderful accompaniment to equally complex food. Even Miles, the infamous Merlot-hater in the movie “Sideways” would have loved it.