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.

2000 Galil Mountain Yiron Red Wine, Israel, Galilee, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2000
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

This was generously brought to our Seder by a friend.  It was stood upright for a couple of weeks and decanted for sediment right before serving.  It is a 60/40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  A really great showing at age 19.  Probably a bit past its prime but still thriving with plenty to offer those who would listen to an older wine.  Deep ruby in color, a bit of bricking at the rim.  The nose is great with cigar box, dried cherries, fresh cherries, dust and slight pine.  On the palate, this has layers of fruit;dried and fresh over a forest floor.  Good acidity helps it go well

2013 Alexander Valley Vineyards Cyrus, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$46.00USD

Purple in color.  The nose has nice cassis, dust, cherries and slight green bell pepper.  On the palate, this has medium tannins.  Good cassis fruit over a dry earthiness.  Light tannins.  The bell pepper is only on the nose.  This has some complexity at this point.  Good finish.  Not uber ripe but certainly not under ripe either.  Drinking well, it may possibly still improve with further cellaring.  Will work better with bigger or spicy foods but is ok on its own.  64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc, 7% Merlot, 5% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot

NV Old Westminster Pip & Berry, USA, Maryland, Wine Review

Score: 
78
Grade: 
C+

OK, this was served to me at a wine store, so what the heck.  It is a sparkling rosé wine & cider blend that is 30% Merlot, 30% Chambourcin, and 40% Stayman Winesap apples. I can't imagine it costs much.  It was fun to try a can (yes, a can).  Other's seemed to find it fun.  For this grizzled old wine geek, it was more a curiosity.  But, that's ok too.  

2014 Cantine Fina Caro Maestro, Italy, Sicily, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
89
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is a Bordeaux blend from Western Sicily.  It a nice affordable wine that is enjoyable and will hold and improve a bit for a few years in a good cellar.  It is a modern, internationally styled wine, but still has a certain continental quality to it.  Purple in color.  The nose has nice cherry fruit with a bit of spice and slight cedar.  On the palate, there are some tannins.  Nice cherry fruit.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  Easy drinking and will work with a wide variety of foods.  It won't get much better, but perhaps a bit.  It should be drunk by 2025.  

2011 Kapcsándy Family Winery Rapszodia, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

Kapcsandy makes some of the best wines in Napa (and the world).  This one is a bit less well known.  It is a blend of 62% Cabernet Franc and 38% Merlot (so think the Cheval Blanc of Napa).  2011 was a difficult vintage but this wine is outstanding if perhaps not as good as the following vintages.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, cigar tobacco and just a hint of bell pepper.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  It is a bit more demur than typical Kapcsandy bottles, but it is drinking quite well.  Black cherry fruit with an underlying earthy/tobacco quality.  Light ta

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

Pages