A Month of Merlot

Like the talented child who has been overshadowed by his elder bother, Merlot is finally beginning to regain its birthright. The self-proclaimed Merlot Month of October is as good a time as any to celebrate this grape. IntoWine hand selected four Merlots to help you rediscover why Merlot is so good.

Cuvaison 2019 Merlot Arcilla

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Though Cuvaison is best known for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, they have an impressive overall portfolio of wine that often doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Case in point, their 2019 Merlot is nothing short of outstanding. This is a medium bodied wine that drinks like a full-bodied wine with lots of swagger. Black cherry notes dominate along with plum, blackberry, light blueberry, cocoa powder and fresh sawed cedar wood. This is 100% Merlot and shows that with excellent fruit, you can make a Merlot that doesn’t need the addition of other grapes to make it better.

Line 39 2019 Merlot

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$11.00USD

I’ve long reviewed wines based upon a simple principle: Is the wine I’m tasting commensurate with its price? Many expensive wines are not worth the price, and similarly, many inexpensive wines are not worth their price tag. So to find this Merlot, for 11 bucks, well, it’s worth every penny, and more. Line 39 did an exceptional job of making this wine and crafting a solid, dependable and tasty wine. Though not overly complex, it offers what every wine should: definable fruit, integrated oak, good acidity and tannic structure.

2018 Luna Vineyards Merlot Reserve, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Luna made some nice wines.  This was certainly one.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has cherries, milk chocolate, spice, and slight plums.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, this is easy drinking but also has some depth.  Chocolate covered cherries with a slight bit of undergrowth.  Good finish.  Nice on its own, this is a classic burger wine as well.  Drink over the next ten years.  

2013 Realm Cellars The Falstaff, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$425.00USD

This is a blend of 42% Cabernet Franc, 42% Merlot, and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Impressive showing.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is tight at first but opens to show black cherries, cherries, chocolate, and brown tobacco.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  Wonderful velvety texture.  On the palate, this is delicious with black cherries, iodine, blueberries and crushed leaves.  Complex.  Still not fully mature but getting there.  Long finish.  No harm opening now, but another five to eight years and this might get a 100 score.  Great on its own, it will take big food right

2019 Château Fombrauge, France, Bordeaux, Saint Emilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

Mostly shut down at this point.  It is 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc according to the winemaker's notes.  Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has cherries and cedar.  Medium bodied.  Medium tannins.  Delicious on the palate if one dimensional.  Black cherries.  Moderate finish.  This should be held for five to seven years and then consumed over the next ten to twelve.  

2019 Le Pavillon de Saint-Jacques, France, Bordeaux, Lalande de Pomerol, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

The label lists this as 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose is simple with fresh cherry fruit.  Medium bodied.  Light tannins.  On the palate, cherries and black cherries.  Moderate finish.  This is a pleasant wine that should be consumed in the next few years.  It would make a nice mid-week wine with burgers.  

2019 Château Petit Village, France, Pomerol, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$105.00USD

Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  This is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon according to the winemaker's notes.  The nose is nice with black cherries, smoke, plums, chocolate and cedar.  Firm tannins.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is very tight.  It unwinds a bit in the glass to show cherries, black cherries, and slight chocolate.  Some depth.  Nice finish.  Certainly, this seems at least a bit shut down at this point.  Best to hold this for five to eight more years, then drink for ten to twelve after that.  

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