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.

2006 Jonata Winery El Alma de Jonata, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$115.00USD

This is still a bit young but rounding into peak form and almost there.  With a  bit of air, this is drinking quite well.  A blend of 95% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with black cherries, leather, cigar box, slight dark chocolate, cherries and slight spice.  On the palate, this has a lush but firm texture.  Lots of energy.  Layers of fruit and dried tobacco with a bit of char.  Complex.  Light tannins.  After about an hour, this was singing.  Long finish.  This will work with most heavier foods especially roasts or casseroles (wit

2012 Columbia Crest Walter Clore Private Reserve, USA, Washington, Columbia Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is an excellent value in red wine.  It is a blend of 80% Merlot with the remainder Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, dark chocolate and a hint of spice.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this has nice black cherry fruit with some depth.  Light tannins.  Underlying earthiness.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This drinks well on its own and should be great with poultry dishes or even a burger.  It should be consumed over the next five to seven years.  While wine prices vary at the time of this writing, this wi

NV Meadowcroft Anniversary Cuvée, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$52.00USD

This is a non-vintage blend.  It was bottled in 2016.  Although it carries a Napa Valley designation, as it is mostly Mt. Veeder grapes, it has grapes from all over California.  A blend of 41% Cabernet Sauvignon,36% Cabernet Franc, and 23% Merlot.  Purple in color.  The nose has a mushroom note to it along with black cherry fruit and baking spices.  Warm.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Light tannins.  Nice black cherry fruit.  Some depth.  Easy drinking.  This probably should be consumed in the next five to seven years.  It will work well with stews and casseroles.  

2018 Sineann Abondante, USA, Oregon/Washington, Columbia Valley,Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

This is always a great value from Oregon/Washington producer Sineann.  Peter Rossback makes a lot of a wide variety of wines.  Once he is done, he makes a couple of different blends with the leftovers.  The Abondante is the better of the two (the other is labelled Red Wine).  This sells for around $22 and comes screw capped!  This vintage is a blend of Merlot, Cabernet and Zinfandel.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, black cherries, slight chocolate and char.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Drinking well right now.  Light tannins.  Good finish.  This should drink well for

2005 Château Clos de Sarpe, France, Bordeaux, St. Emilion, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

This was opened and poured and enjoyed over six hours.  It is still young and really hit its stride after around four hours though the last glass was the best.  A wonderfully delicious wine.  Deep purple in color; shiny, bright and opaque.  The nose is great with black cherries, dark chocolate, slight soy, plum and char.  On the palate, this still has firm tannins though they are not overwhelming.  Lots of black cherry fruit with some underlying gravel and also some chocolate.  This is not a baby at age 15, but still needs about ten years until peak.  The finish is long, smooth and has a ni

2015 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

  This is a blend of 87.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec and 1.5% Petit Verdot.  It is a big wine that seems like it will still get better with cellaring.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, dust, and an interesting citrus quality.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Notes of cassis, some dark chocolate and orange peel (?) come thru.  It is deep with firm tannins that will need time to open.  Long finish.  This needs another five to ten years of cellaring and should be good for ten to twelve after that.  Right now, it should be given an eight h

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