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.

2016 Château Haut-La Pereyre, France, Bordeaux Supérieur, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$19.00USD

This is a blend of 75% Merlots and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose is very tight but shows some black cherry.  Much more open on the palate.  Black cherry fruit with slight black raspberries.  Medium to light tannins.  Reasonably balanced.  A bit bitter on the finish.  This drinks quite easily on its own but would be better with a burger or other grilled food.  

2015 Sineann Merlot Champoux Vineyard, USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is made by an Oregon producer using Washington fruit.  Screw capped.  Champoux Vineyard is one of Washington's finest.  This Merlot is quite good and certainly better than many California Merlots at similar pricing.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, chocolate,  and spice.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Some depth.  Light tannins.  This is still youthful and may improve a bit over the next three to five years.  It should be good for another five to seven after that.  It will work well with roasts and casseroles.  

2003 Château Branaire-Ducru, France, Bordeaux, St. Julian, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2003
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$74.00USD

This took about an hour to open and then was drinking great.  It is a blend of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4.5% Petit Verdot and 3.5% Cabernet Franc.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, cigar box and cherries.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Ripe fruit.  Lighter tannins.  Flavors of Cherries with some cassis, chocolate and clean(er) barnyard.  Good finish.  This is about at peak now but should be here for at least another five to seven years.  It will go well with roasted meats or fowl. 

2013 Peter Michael Les Pavots, USA, California, Sonoma, Knights Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$180.00USD

This is a blend of 69% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Cabernet France, 9% Merlot, and 1% Petit Verdot.  This is a gorgeous wine but it will need some time to reach maturity.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  Cassis, black cherries, dark chocolate, char and baking spice on the nose.  Full bodied.  On the palate, the cassis and black cherries carry thru though concentrated.  Firm tannins.  An underlying char.  Long finish.  This needs about five to ten years until peak and will be good for ten to twenty years after that.  It drinks well on its own and will work with bigger foods especially roasts

2013 Duckhorn Vineyards The Discussion, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$165.00USD

This is the top wine that Duckhorn makes.  It is 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries, cassis, spice and slight chocolate.  On the palate, this has a lovely texture.  It is not a monster wine, but has a nice elegance to it.  It is younger-ish with firm tannins.  Lots of black cherry fruit with some underlying sandalwood and slight forest floor.  Good finish.  This will work well on its own but also with a wide variety of meats and fowl.  It should be close to peak but should be here for at least another

2014 Realm Cellars The Tempest, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$145.00USD

This is a blend of 62% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot.  It is a delicious wine that while still young is drinking well.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, cassis, cigar box, plums and baking spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Lots of black cherry and cassis with forest floor.  Thick tannins.  Long finish.  Obviously young, this will continue to improve for another seven to ten years and then be good for at least ten to fifteen after that.  It drinks well on its own and will work with roasts or casseroles.  

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