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.

2002 Pahlmeyer Proprietary Red, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2002
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$185.00USD

This is a proprietary red from Napa made from 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, and 1% each of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec.  Tasted from two bottles, and one bottle was good, the other one great.  At age 18, that is to be expected.  Purple/ruby in color.  The nose is great with black cherries, black raspberries, gravel and roasted meat and herbs.  On the palate, this is complex as the layers start to unwind in the glass.  Black cherries dominate over a nice dry earthiness.  Light tannins.  Great balance.  Nice finish.  This drinks nicely on its own but will be even better with

2001 Vieux Château Certan, France, Bordeaux, Pomerol, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2001
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$333.00USD

2001 was a good if not great vintage and the better wines are certainly at peak.  That would include this one.  It is one of the better Merlot's produced in Bordeaux.  Purple in color, ruby at the core.  The nose is nice with cherries, slight plums, some cedar and a bit of milk chocolate.  Full bodied.  The wine has a nice complexity to it.  If is mature and on the refined side.  Layers of plums, cherries with an earthy/dried fruit base.  Moderate finish.  This worked well with a stuffed mushroom cap dish.  No real hurry at this point, but probably best to drink up within five to ten years.

2010 Kapcsándy Family Winery Roberta's Reserve State Lane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$300.00USD

This is one of the best Merlot's made anywhere.  Period.  The attention to detail and the quality of fruit is amazing.  Certainly some vintages are better than others, but it is always phenomenal.  There is 5% Cabernet Franc in the blend.  Deep ruby/purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  A wonderful nose of black cherries, plums, slight kirsch, slight dark chocolate, and minerals.  Full bodied with a lush texture.  Flavors of sour cherries, black raspberries and plums intertwined with minerality, dark chocolate and slight spice.  Light tannins.  Lots of verve, it dances on the tong

2017 Argiano Non Confunditur Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

This is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese which makes it a "Super Tuscan".  It is, however, not expensive and truly a great value.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is nice with black cherries, cherries, baking spices and slight woodiness.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  A nice backbone of acidity.  It has a soft but inviting texture.  Delicious red berry fruit with underlying dry earthiness.  Medium finish.  This drinks great on its own but is better with food.  A great "pizza wine".  It should be good for another five to seven years.  

2017 Justin Vineyards & Winery Justification, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is a "right bank" Bordeaux blend from Paso Robles.  It is 65% Cabernet Franc and 35% Merlot and sees 44% new French oak for 20 months..  Ruby/purple in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, dusty, baking spices, slight tobacco and cedar.  On the palate, this has thick tannins at this stage.  Lots of cherries, red currants, spice and slight earthiness.  It is very tight right now but opened up nicely on day 2.  If drinking now, give it a good decant.  This should improve a bit over the next few years and be good for seven to ten years after that.  It has

2017 Flora Springs Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$38.00USD

Another in a fine line of Napa Merlot's from Flora Springs.  Merlot ripens earlier than Cabernet allowing the vineyard manager to let fruit hang if needed to get ripe.  No issues here despite a less than stellar growing season.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, milk chocolate and spice.  A nice silky texture.  Lots of black cherry fruit.  Light tannins.  This is still young but drinks quite easy.  It will mature a bit, but is drinking great now.  It should drink well over the next seven to ten years.  Great on its own or a nice match for burgers or ribs.  

2017 Psagot Edom, Israel, Judean Hills, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$33.00USD

This a red blend of 45% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 13% Petit Verdot grown at high elevation in the Edom Mountains.  It is Kosher.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  A very nice Bordeaux-like nose.  Cassis, black cherries, cherries, slight cigar box, gravel and slighter bell pepper.  On the palate, this is medium bodied with lighter but present tannins.  Moderate acidity.  A nice depth and complexity.  Notes of cassis and cherry fruit over gravel.  Ripe but not overtly.  Drinks easily right now.  I don't think this will get better but should drink well for five to seven more years.

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