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.

2017 Celler Vall Llach Priorat Embruix, Spain, Priorat, Wine review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

Another top producer in Priorat, this is their entry level red.  It is a blend of  27% Garnacha, 26% Merlot, 21% Syrah, 18% Cariñena, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Inky purple in color, shimmering bright and opaque.  The nose has dust, black cherries, plums and coffee.  On the palate, spicy black cherry fruit.  Medium tannins.  The alcohol is noticeable but not obtrusive.  Long finish.  This is delicious and in need of some cellar time.  Perhaps another three to five years.  This drinks great on its own but will need big food right now.  Perhaps after a few years it calms down.  This is the kind

2018 Radikon RS, Italy, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
50
Grade: 
F-
Current Price: 
$36.00USD

So, are you feeling lucky?  That phrase goes thru my head every time I think about buying a natural wine.  But, Radikon is one of the top producers and his Merlots have been amazing.  This one is 75% Merlot and 25% Pignolo aged on its skins for 15 day and in oak for 3 years without much intervention.  I just hope the kitchen sink enjoyed it as i poured it down the drain!  Consumed over three days, just to punish myself.  Purple in color, opaque and flat.  The nose was a cross been a failed high school science experiment and the back room of a butcher shop.  The palate was much more chemical

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

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$120.00USD

Much better and cleaner than another bottle tried a couple years ago.  Both were bought on release at the same time.  A right bank wine from the great 2005 vintage.  The vineyard is 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc (unsure about the specific vintage in bottle).  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is nice with cherries, black cherries, cedar, chocolate, slight tobacco and just a bit of smoke.  Consumed over two days, this was better/more open on day 2.  Full bodied.  Lush texture but with good acidity.  Lots of black cherry fruit over smoke with some chocolate.  Nice finish.  This s

2016 Tenuta Sette Ponti Crognolo Toscana IGT, Italy, Tuscany, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

A delightful wine that is a step or two above a entry level super Tuscan.  It is a blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Merlot.  Deep ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, sandalwood, slight chocolate and spice.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, there are upfront cherries supported with nice acidity.  It broadens on the palate to a variety of cherry flavors with touch of tea leaves.  Nice finish.  This may still improve for a few years in the cellar, but in general, this should make nice drinking for the next seven to ten years.  It drinks well on its own but will work be

2016 Plumpjack Merlot Napa Valley, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

This is an exceptional California Merlot.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cherries, slight plums, chocolate, cedar and spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, cherries, milk chocolate, smoke and spice.  Medium tannins.  Still very primary, this should continue to mature for the next five to ten years and be good for another ten after that.  Drinks great on its own, it would work well with a burger or roast.  

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.

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