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Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Merlot Me, Maybe

“Hey, I just met you, and this is crazy,
so here’s my number, Merlot me maybe.”

Okay, so you might be now singing that pop song in your head. Sorry about that. Anyway…October is the self proclaimed Merlot Month. Really? Does a wine need 30 days in which to prove itself? Ah…with Merlot, yes it does. Merlot has been maligned ever since the film Sideways unapologetically voiced the main character’s opinion, “I’m not drinking any fucking Merlot!” Ouch. It’s not that Merlot was a crappy grape, but that in California, back then in the early 2000s, it was overplanted creating not only glut, but lousy grapes. I love Merlot. Truly, there are some terrific examples, including Lava Cap (Sierra Foothills), and Robert Hall (Paso Robles) and a host of others. So, may I present a Merlot sampler - a range of wines worth considering this month of October that might reinvigorate your red wine consumption. At the very least, try a new Merlot, even one not on this list.
From Sonoma is the inexpensive 2014 Cannonball SonomaCounty Merlot ($14.99), a nifty little number that is a great entry Merlot for those who like more ripe frit and fewer tannins and change in your pocket. It offers rich jammy boysenberry, black berry, a little black cherry and huckleberry, a sweet oak and a pleasant personality - easy to drink, easy to love, easy on the 401k.
Moving up the scale is Peju’s 2013 Napa Valley Merlot ($38), from a certified organic vineyard in the Rutherford area of Napa, which offers more acidity, tighter tannins and more subtle fruit with notes of blackberry, boysenberry, dark plumb and raspberry, hints of sweet cedar and black cherry.
Then we come to the Duckhorn 2013 Napa Valley Merlot ($54) which is the gold standard of Merlot in California. Routinely Duckhorn Merlots provide a tactile, sensory experience with dark fruits of blackberry, boysenberry, huckleberry, pomegranate, charred resin, seamless oak integration and a constant stream of acidity working through the wine making this ideal with food.

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