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.

Cakebread 2019 Merlot

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Soft and supple, there is a lovely viscosity to this Merlot. You’ll find notes of blackberry, blueberry, boysenberry and huckleberry surrounded by light cedar, raspberry compote and violets. The acidity allows for the fruit to shine through while maintaining structure for the wine. The tannins are fairly mild but this goes a long way on the palate. The judicious use of oak also helps to support the darker fruit of this wine. This is a soft, shy wine, not an aggressive over the top in your face Merlot.

2015 Screaming Eagle The Flight, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$900.00USD

This is Screaming Eagle's Merlot based wine.  This year the blend is 61% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Cabernet Franc.  It is still young and tight and took some time to open.  That said, it was delicious. Purple in color, ruby at the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, cherries, dark chocolate, violets and a bit of earthiness.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, this has a lush texture.  Black cherries and cherries with some chocolate and char.  Great balance.  Long finish.

Duckhorn 2019 Three Palms Merlot

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$115.00USD

Three Palms is unquestionably the most well-known and famous Merlot in the United States. That Duckhorn has made a commitment to Merlot for decades is to be applauded. This iteration beautifully spells out why they have made that commitment. The deftly handled balance of fruit, acidity, tannin and oak is simply marvelous. Black cherry, blackberry, boysenberry and huckleberry lead off, followed by back notes of black cherry, plum, anise, and cocoa powder. Aged for 18 months in predominately new French oak. ORIGIN: Napa Valley. ALCOHOL: 14.5%

2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mountain

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$105.00USD

There’s a belief I have that if you mess up any fruit from Howell Mountain there’s something wrong with you. Duckhorn has consistently produced an extraordinary Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2017 is no exception. Comprised of all Cabernet with 10% Merlot, this is a softer version than in years past, these tannins are a little more mild, the acidity a little brighter, and the fruit opulent and rich. Black cherry, blackberry, blueberry, and boysenberry, lead off and the fruit is a tad more expressive than in years past. It was aged 24 months, 18 of which were new French oak.

2018 Attila Gere Villányi Kopár Cuvée, Hungary, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is the flagship wine of one of Hungary's leading wineries.  It is a blend of 50% Cabernet Franc; 40% Merlot; 10% Cabernet Sauvignon with the grapes coming from the Csillagvölgy, Konkoly, Kopár, and Ördögárok vineyards.  Purple in color, opaque  but a bit cloudy.  The nose is nice with dust, spice and cherries.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this is deep and complex.  Black cherry fruit with some cherries and a sli graphite note.  Pinpoint balance.  Nice, silky finish.  This is drinking well now and should continue to for another ten to twelve years.  It will go well wit

2018 Ken Forrester Pat's Garden Reserve Red, South Africa, Stellenbosch, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

From South Africa, this is a blend of 76% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Franc, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petit Verdot.  Deep purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, chocolate, slight tobacco, a hint of bell pepper and spice.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, the black cherries come thru along with some cherries and a bit of chocolate.  Some depth.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This will drink nicely on its own but better with food.  Drink over the next three to five years.  It will work well with meatloaf or a burger.  

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