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.

2016 Realm Cellars The Bard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

What an amazing wine.  This is one of the more "affordable" Cabernet's from Realm.  It is still very expensive, but this is some of the best that Napa has to offer.  It is about 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.   Purple in color, opaque and shining bright.  The nose is great with cassis, blueberries, cedar, spice and char.  Just a gorgeous texture.  Lush and velvety but with enough cut to not be cumbersome.  Plenty of cassis and blueberry fruit with underlying tobacco and chart.  Long finish.  This is still young but just delicious.  With time, this will show more complexity although

1999 Arietta Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

On release, these were big, bold wines made, at least in part, by John Kongsgaard.  Of course, its now 21 years since vintage and one wold be hard pressed to call this anything but right bank if tasting blind.  Part of that is one doesn't expect a Napa Merlot to age this well.  It does have 10% Syrah in the blend so that may be part of it.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose is dusty with cherries, black cherries, slight cedar and some earthy funk.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black cherry fruit with a touch of dark chocolate and underlying earthiness.  This is complex and also vib

1999 Vérité La Joie, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

This was purchased by me on release back when it was merely expensive.  Today, this is one of the top guns of the Kendal Jackson empire and the pricing has gotten prohibitive for the newer releases.  If trying this blind, a good guess might have been a 1999 Bordeaux, maybe Graves or maybe even 1998.  it was quite good and certainly just about at peak.  A 60/40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Purple/ruby in color with just a hint of browning at the rim.  The nose has some brett but plenty of cassis, cherries and an earthy funk too.  On the palate, this is complex.  Layers of fruit (

2001 Charles Krug Winery (Peter Mondavi Family) Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2001
Score: 
84
Grade: 
B

Of course, this bottle should have been consumed long ago, but it happens.  This acquitted itself very well, all things considered.  Deep ruby in color, some browning but not much at the rim.  The nose is dusty, earthy with some dried and macerated cherries.  On the palate, this has some layering going on, fresh cherries, dried cherries and forest floor notes.  Tannins are all resolved.  A bit tart.  Good finish.  This improved a bit with food.  I worked well with a vegetarian bean cassoulet.  These should be drunk up.  

2017 Gourmet Père et Fils Entrecôte Merlot Cabernet Syrah, France, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
79
Grade: 
C+
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

This is an inexpensive blend from the south of France (Languedoc) although the label just indicates France..  It comes brightly packaged and is certainly intended for their export market.  Ruby/purple in color.  The nose is very jammy with raspberries and cherries and also some spice with bits of fresh cut lumber.  On the palate, this is slightly sweet and jammy with black raspberries and black cherries along with some toasty oak.  Probably best to serve at parties on its own.  It should be consumed now.  

2013 Behrens Family Winery The Collector, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

My first time trying this wine.  Very nice.  A blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petite Sirah and the rest Merlot and Petit Verdot.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, char and spice.  On the palate, the black cherries dominate.  There is some green bell pepper (in a good way) that is very traditional.  Some underlying roasted meats.  This already has a tight complexity that unwinds in the glass.  Nice finish.  This probably needs another five to seven to peak and should be good for ten to twelve more after that.  it is food friendly and wi

2014 Raymond Vineyard & Cellar Merlot Reserve Selection, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$23.00USD

This is a nice value in inexpensive Merlot.  It is a blend of 88% Merlot and the rest Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec.  Medium ruby in color.  The nose has plums, cherries and spice.  On the palate, this is light to medium bodied.  Light cherry fruit.  Easy drinking.  Nice finish.  This is made for immediate drinking.  It drinks well on its own and would be great with burgers or grilled chicken.  Drink over the next couple of years.  

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