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.

2021 Oberon Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$28.00USD

Oberon is part of the  Michael Mondavi family of wines.  This wine was quite good and very interesting.  It is of course, mostly Merlot (sourced in Oakville) but there is an undisclosed amount of Zinfandel and Syrah in the wine which seems to give it a bit more structure and likely a bit of acidity as well.  The people at Oberon feel it adds more lushness.  Purple in color with ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, spice and chocolate.  Full bodied.  Light to medium tannins.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Flavors of black cherries, milk

2017 Ca' Marcanda (Gaja) Promis Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, wine review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is from the Tuscan branch of Gaja, more widely known for their wines from Piedmont in northern Italy.  It is a blend of 55% Merlot, 35% Syrah,  and 10% Sangiovese.  Purple in color with ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with cherries, black cherries, sandalwood, slight chocolate and spice.  Firm tannins.  Full bodied.  On the palate, cassis, black cherries, slight forest floor and chocolate.  Long finish.  This is tasty now but obviously young.  It could use a few more years of cellaring and then drink for ten to fifteen after that.  Nice on its own, this would w

2019 Ettore Merlot Zero, USA, California, Mendocino, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is a first and foremost, a very nice Merlot.  But before talking about that it is worth noting that this wine is made without added sulfites.  They accomplish this by using the Purovino® method.  From the company's web site:  "The purovino® method is based on controlled hyperoxygenation on wine grapes and a CIP process of all the equipment with ozone-enriched water.  After the harvest, grapes are fumigated with a specific concentration of activated oxygen that induces  a controlled oxidative stress.

Duckhorn 2020 Three Palms Merlot

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

Though this has become an iconic wine, the beauty of this wine and many others is vintage variation, which produces subtle changes, depending on weather patterns and how the fruit is grown. This is Duckhorn’s most dense and deeply rich Merlot of the past few years, and in fact this is a Merlot dominant iteration (98% Merlot, 2% Malbec). More dark and brooding than previous vintages this one has a beautiful depth to it - deep and rich, blackberry pie, Huckleberry compote, blueberry jam, and light strawberry.

Decoy Unlimited 2021 Alexander Valley Merlot

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This offers nicely balanced red fruit with minimal oak, solid acidity and decent tannic structure. Not an easy thing to find in a Merlot, and a Merlot at this price. Black cherry, black berry, huckleberry, red currant, light cedar and vanilla notes dominate and this is a very comprehensive wine. Mainly Merlot, there are small percentages of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec. It was aged for 14 months in French oak, only 40% of which was new, hence the light wood touch. What this ultimately offers is a robust Merlot that is well worth the price.

2015 Realm Cellars The Tempest, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$165.00USD

This is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.  One of the truly great Merlots out there.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose has cherries, black cherries, baking spice, chocolate, and smoke.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this is flat out delicious.  Cherries, chocolate, slight cassis and spice.  Deep and complex.  Long finish.  This is drinking great now but should have another fifteen to twenty years.  Great on its own, this will work well with Ham or Chicken.  

2013 Château L'Evangile, France, Bordeaux, Pomerol, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$195.00USD

This is 87% Merlot and 13% Cabernet Franc from the difficult 2013 vintage.  Ruby/purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose cherries, chocolate, tobacco and spice.  Nice texture.  Medium bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, black cherries with some cherries with some clay and spice notes.  The finish is a bit clipped.  A very nice effort for the vintage.  It may not have enough fruit to outlast the tannins.  drink over the next ten years.  Nice on its own, but better with food.  A nice wine to open with Ahi Tuna off the grill.  

Pages