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.

2008 Jonata Winery El Desafio de Jonata, USA, California, Santa Ynez Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

A gorgeous California Cab as good as just about anything grown in the northern part of the state.  84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot.  This vintage has much less Cabernet Sauvignon than typical.  It is in a great spot right now.  Young but it has shed its baby fat and is drinking quite well.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, pencil lead, slight tobacco, a bit of chocolate and some cherry notes.  On the palate, this has light tannins.  Plenty of cassis and cherry fruit with some earthy tobacco notes underneath.  Complex.  Good balance.  Lon

2016 Flora Springs Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$29.99USD

Despite what you may think, Sideways didn't kill the California Merlot market as much as it made Pinot Noir stylish.  There are still some fine Merlots being made.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has a nice chocolate covered cherry quality to it.  Some spice as well.  On the palate, this takes about thirty minutes of air to open and then drinks very well.  It is more expressive (right now) on the palate with milk chocolate covered cherries and a nice vanilla streak.  Not candied as much as liqueur notes.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This drinks very well on its own and would b

2016 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Looking for an outstanding Napa Cabernet for $50?  This one fits just fine.  This is drinking just great right now but will easily last a decade.  84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Malbec,1% Petit Verdot.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with cassis, a bit of pencil lead, coffee and a slight dusty note.  On the palate, this has medium tannins.  Great balance.  Plenty of cassis fruit over a dry earthy note.  Good finish.  This will go well with a variety of heavier dishes from BBQ to roasts.  

2015 Charles Smith Merlot The Velvet Devil

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

Purple in color.  The nose is ok with cherries and dust.  On the palate, this is easy drinking.  Cherries with some underling spice.  Nice texture.  Nothing wrong but nothing exciting either except the price.  This is around $15 which is a nice price for a party.  

2005 Château La Croix St. Georges, France, Pomerol, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1995
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$120.00USD

Nice to check in on this.  That said, this bottle, purchased from retail on release had a significant amount of brett on it.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has some band-aid, slight barnyard, cassis, slight blueberries, and cedar.  On the palate, this was decanted and much but not all of the brett blew off.  It shows nice fruit with tight layers of barnyard and earth.  Medium tannins.  Long finish.  A cleaner bottle can certainly go longer, but given how this showed, it might be better to open a bottle and see how it is doing.  Especially if you have more than one.  It needs b

2003 Château Pavie, France, Bordeaux, Saint Emilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2003
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$250.00USD

Gorgeous wine.  This was controversial on release for being too big and bold, but I think it would be less so today.  Maybe not.  It is still a ripe wine but not overblown or raisiny, etc.  Just a gorgeous expression of Merlot.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is initially tight but opens quickly showing dusty cherries, slight mocha ad roasted herbs.  On the palate, black cherries layered with dry earth and just a hint of cocoa powder.  Great plush yet juicy texture.  This is deep with tight layering that unwind in the glass.  Long finish.  It probably won't get better but will

2007 Meerlust Rubicon, South Africa, Stellenbosch, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is a Cab/Merlot/Cab Franc blend from South Africa.  Purple, ruby at the rim.  The nose is interesting.  Red fruits with some bell pepper notes.  A bit of tobacco as well.  On the palate, this seems a bit better.  Cherries and some cassis.  Underlying earthiness.  Good finish.  Drinks like a nice Bordeaux with a bit of age on it.  The bell pepper on the nose will be welcome to some and a problem for others.  Seems to be at peak right now.  Drink sooner than later.  

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