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.

2009 Arômes de Pavie, France, Bordeaux, Saint Emilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+

This is from the younger wines at Chateau Pavie (under 10 years old).  It is a blend of 70% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries with a bit of cigar box.  On the palate, this is drinking well now.  Nice cherry fruit with a bit of cocoa and slight tobacco.  Not a lot of concentration or complexity but it is tasty.  Good acidity.  It seems as though this will be as good as this gets and thought it should do another five to ten years, the safer bet is to drink it now.  It will go well with stews and medium weight foods.  

1982 Château Sociando-Mallet, France, Bordeaux, Haut-Medoc, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1982
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Bordeaux wines from 1982 are often still drinking great.  While one might think a wine such as this might be over the hill, that is not true.  At least for this bottle.  It still has some youthful freshness.  It is 53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 42% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  No real bricking or browning.  On the nose there is cassis, dust, slight cigar box and hints of cherry.  On the palate, this has lively energy.  Cassis and cherries with some underlying dried herbal notes.  Not a big wine.  Some depth and slight layering.  Nice finish. 

1985 Wolf Blass Black Label, Australia,

Vintage: 
1985
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

75% Langhorne Creek, McLaren Vale & Eden Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - 20% Langhorne Creek Merlot - 5% Eden Valley Shiraz.  This is the flagship wine of this property.  The bottle was gifted to me a couple of years ago, and it got opened at the end of a 1980's Bordeaux tasting which seemed appropriate.  It did not disappoint and held its own in the tasting.  Purple with ruby swirls, ruby at the rim, not much bricking.  On the nose, this is dusty with black cherry fruit and a bit of black pepper.  On the palate, this has some depth with nice layering that is immediately apparent.  Good aci

1986 Château Mouton Rothschild, France, Bordeaux, Pauillac, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1986
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$840.00USD

I have been lucky enough to have this on a few occasions.  Never has it been open or showing anything like it's lofty status with the critics would indicate so I approached with trepidation.  No need.  This bottle was amazing.  Everything it was supposed to be including still a bit on the young side.  It is 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.  Inky purple in color, ruby at the rim.  Bright but mostly opaque.  On the nose, lovely cassis, cigar box, ash and slight pencil lead.  The lead becomes more pronounced with air and there is some chocolate and spi

1988 Château La Dominique, France, Bordeaux, St. Emilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1988
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$95.00USD

This wine showed quite well considering the vintage and pedigree and age of the wine.  Ruby in color, purple at its core, clear and bright.  The nose has dried cherries, slight dust, a bit of mint.  With air, some fresh cherries.  On the palate, fresh and dried cherries above a baseline of tea leaves.  Medium bodied.  A bit of drying tannins underneath.  Nice finish.  This is very food friendly and easy to drink.  Probably a bit past prime but still enjoyable.  Drink up now.  

1989 Château Angélus, France, Bordeaux, St. Émilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1989
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$525.00USD

Stunning showing for this wine.  Its about 50/50 Cabernet Franc and Merlot.  Still youthful and might indeed improve a bit more.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is complex and enticing with black raspberries, dust, cherries and a slight cocoa note.  With air, a bit of char comes out.  On the palate, this has a "jelly-like" texture which is great.  Lots of black cherry fruit over and char and slight tobacco base.  Tightly layered, the layers unwind nicely in the glass.  It might improve more over the next five years, but should easily be at this level for ten to fifteen years mo

1986 Château Pavie, France, Bordeaux, St. Emilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1986
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$155.00USD

The first bottle that we opened was corked.  A second bottle proved quite fresh indeed.  This was a surprise as it showed quite well.  Still, in the older style.  The label was actually in very good shape as well.  Purple in color with just a slight bit of bricking at the rime.  Clear and bright.  The nose has cherry fruit, with a slight bit of funk.  With air it becomes a bit more cigar box.  On the palate, this is clean and fresh.  Certainly mature but nice cherry fruit, just a wisp of tannins with underlying barnyard.  The finish is a bit drying.  Older wines can be a gamble, mostly due

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