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.

2013 Realm Cellars The Tempest, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

OK, I have a confession to make.  I love Merlot.  There, I said it.  But, it has to be good.  Sometimes, because Merlot is so accessible young or so delicious, it gets short shrift when compared to Cabernet.  And don't get me started on the Sideways effect.  And yes, there is a lot of crap out there from all over the globe.  But, there is a lot of really great Merlot as well.  And, this is one.  Actually, it is 86% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Purple in color.  The nose shows black cherries, dark chocolate, cassis, leather, slight menthol and a bit of earth.  On the palate, the textu

2016 Hourglass HG III, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is a red blend that is 48% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, with the rest Petite Sirah, Cabernet Franc, and Syrah.  It is a delicious wine that is drinking well but will likely improve with some cellar time.  Deep ruby in color with some purple at the core.  The nose shows black raspberries, cherries, dark chocolate, spice and cigar box.  On the palate, this is medium to full bodied.  Moderate tannins.  Lots of cherries, black cherries and also some plums over char and tobacco.  Nice finish.  This will work well with bigger foods and certainly a burger on the grill would be great.  Drin

2017 Les Portes de Bordeaux Bordeaux Rosé, France, Bordeaux, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

This is a Trader Joe's wine made from Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  It is an easy drinking rose that is easy on the budget.  Deep pink/orange in color.  The nose has some watermelons and strawberries.  Light bodied.  On the palate, a bit of clean strawberries.  Drank well enough on its own and worked with a variety of garden and fruit salads.  Drink up this summer.  

2015 Outpost Immigrant True Vineyard

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

This is a Bordeaux blend with 39% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 23% Cabernet Franc.  It is a bit more understated than the Cabernet from the True Vineyard.  Drinking well now, this improved with a bit of air and really needs a few more years in the cellar.  But it is fantastic right now.  People who prefer Bordeaux will probably prefer this to the Cab and visa-versa.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, slight blueberries, milk chocolate, cigar box, vanilla and spice.  Yes, there is a lot going on.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Compl

2017 Sineann Abondante, USA, Oregon, Columbia Valley, WIne Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

Sineann gets grapes in Oregon and Washington and makes quite a few different wines.  This one is a blend of grapes that did not get bottled as a single varietal.  It is always a great wine and a better value.  This vintage it contains Merlot, Cabernet and Zinfandel.  By the way, Abondante means "generous" in Italian.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, spice, slight chocolate and forest floor.  On the palate, there are light tannins.  This is medium to full bodied.  Plenty of black cherry fruit with some cherry over a forest floor quality.  Good finish.  This is very fle

2018 14 Hands Rosé, USA, Washington, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$5.00USD

This is from a can although it appears they also sell this in bottles.  It is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cinsault and Grenache.  It has a reasonably deep pink/ruby color.  The nose has cherries and raspberries.  On the palate, this is easy drinking and refreshing.  Flavors of cherries and strawberries.  No tannins.  Ready to drink now.  Worked well with salty fried food but should go with a wide variety of foods.  The trend of wine cans is catching on.  For wines that are made for now, this is a convenient, non-breakable alternative.  I hope more wineries go this route.  

2014 Blankiet Estate Merlot Prince of Hearts Rose, USA, California,

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is interesting.  I normally prefer a Rose to be young (with a couple of important exceptions) but this still tasted youthful at 5 years from vintage.  It is made from Merlot and a bit of Cabernet Franc.  Orange/salmon pink in color, clear and bright.  The nose has watermelons, strawberries and slight hay.  On the palate, this is clean with just a touch of acidity.  Cherries and strawberries.  Nice finish.  This will go with anything from a light salad to a burger or fowl.  

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