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.

2014 Tenuta San Guido Guido Alberto Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is the second label of Sassicaia.  It is a blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot.  Tasted at a tasting with more Sangiovese grapes did not help this wine.  Nor did the fact that this was from a not very good vintage in Tuscany and many of the others were from better vintages.  Still, this wine was a favorite of some.  Deep garnet in color.  The nose has tart cherries, some cassis, some tobacco and green bell pepper.  On the palate, the tannins are fully resolved.  Good acidity.  Slightly bitter cherries with some forest floor.  Short finish.  It is a good reason to drink wines

2015 Burrowing Owl Merlot, Canada, Okanagan Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$32.00USD

From the Pacific Northwest in Canada, this is a very nice fruit forward styled Merlot.  It is interesting that they were able to get this wine ripe that far north.  14.8% Abv on the label.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cherries, cherry preserves and slight dark chocolate.  On the palate, this is a big wine, slightly viscous.  Jammy cherry fruit.  Probably better to drink on its own.  Tasty.  Good finish.  This will be a love it or hate it wine for many people.  I enjoyed it very much.  

2015 Mulderbosch Faithful Hound, South Africa, Stellenbosch, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

This winery has recently been sold to new owners.  They are one of the largest producers in South Africa having opened in 1989.  Mostly known for their Chenin Blanc, this red is affordable and a great value too.  It is a blend of 32% Cabernet Franc, 31% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7% Malbec.  The new label is plain and classy, but I always liked the old one with a picture of a dog.  A note for the 2013 is on this site and features that label.  The wine itself is drinking very well.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cassis, plums, baking spice and slight tobacco not

2013 Palazzo Proprietary Red Reserve, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

Scott Palazzo makes some mighty fine wines out in Napa.  This one is no exception.  This is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon hence the "Right Bank" name.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is very nice with black cherries, cherries, a bit of dark chocolate, slight cigar box and spice.  On the palate, this has a lush texture but is by no means a fruit bomb.  Good acidity.  This will work well with a wide variety of foods especially roasts.  There are still tannins present and this did improve a bit with air.  It should continue to improve for the next few ye

2008 Chateau Palmer, France, Bordeaux, Margaux, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$225.00USD

Consumed after a tasting of First Growths from 2008, this more than held its own.  It is 51% Merlot, 41% Cabernet Sauvignon and 8% Petit Verdot.  The definition of a sexy wine.  Purple/ruby in color.  The nose has cassis, floral notes and slight plums.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Juicy yet velvety.  Lots of cassis and some raspberries over a slight spice/earth.  Long finish.  There are medium to firm tannins but they are more silky in style.  A delicious wine right now, it should improve for a decade and last another couple (at least) after that.  

2008 Château Latour Grand Vin, France, Bordeaux, Pauillac, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$600.00USD

Probably, this may be the best wine from Bordeaux in this vintage, but it is going to take a long, long time.  In any event, this is a wine that needs a week to decant now or just wait.  94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc.  Purple in color to the rim.  The nose has cassis, licorice, tobacco and heavy roast coffee.  On the palate, this is very concentrated and takes some time to open in the glass.  Firm tannins.  Lots of cassis fruit but packed densely, it is hard to get more than that, but at the same time, the fruit goes on forever.  There is some obvious oak at this p

2008 Château Lafite Rothschild, France, Bordeaux, Pauillac, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
99
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$1000.00USD

In a tasting of the top 2008's from Bordeaux, this was the WOTN (and mine) for drinking right now.  Of course, none of them are fully mature and need at least a decade.  This is a very special wine.   83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot and 4% Cabernet Franc.  Deep purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is classic with cassis, graphite, cedar, and cigar box.  On the palate, this is intense.  Lots of great cassis fruit intertwined with earthiness and cedar, it unwinds in layers in the glass.  The finish is very persistent and even seems to grow on the palate.  Great balance.  This is a w

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