I’ve spent the past couple of weeks tasting Merlots for you – yes, you’re welcome, but believe me the pleasure was all mine! I am a BIG fan of merlot (The movie ‘Sideways’ never changed my opinion). Let’s face it, without merlot where would Bordeaux be? It’s the grape that softens those wines….the yang of the yin so to speak that makes perfection happen in the glass.
You can spend a little or a lot on Merlot and if you’re careful, either way you’ll be happy. I recently had the pleasure of tasting one of the all time stalwarts in the merlot world, the Swanson Oakville Merlot…the tasting was special not only because of the wine but because it was with Clarke Swanson, the winery’s owner. That meeting sparked my interest in exploring Merlots, so thank you Clarke!
So, head to Bolners, grab a couple of incredible steaks and crack open one of the following or experiment and try a couple over the weekend. I’m curious…was the vegetal/green pepper aroma common to a lot of ’05 Napa/Sonoma merlots? Email me if you know….
(prices are approx..shop around)
Kunde Merlot – $14 You’ll smell some dark cherries here and blackberries, and a bit of green pepper. You’ll taste the dark cherry with hints of espresso and a cocoa finish. Enjoyed this wine!
Columbia Crest – $11 A lighter style merlot from Washington state. This merlot has a brighter cherry taste than our CA merlots here. It also has a bit of sweet cherry finish with a slight hint of espresso.
Swanson Oakville ’05 Merlot – $21 There’s a hint of green pepper on the nose, dark red fruit, dark cherry. The taste is rich – dark cherry, a hint of menthol and bell pepper … cocoa finish….a big merlot. Swanson has a HUGE loyal following, and you’ll see why. (BTW, great winery to visit)
St. Francis Merlot – $18 I’ve always been a fan of this wine. I do think the style is a bit lighter in the ’05 than what I remember from earlier vintages. But, open it and let it breathe for about 15-20 minutes and start tasting. Dark cherry, vanilla and a slight cocoa finish make this a nice merlot…perfect for that filet.
Freemark Abbey – $18 Thank you to Joe Baker at Gabriel’s on 1604 for insisting I try this merlot. The dark fruit, exotic blackberry with vanilla notes and cocoa are fabulous….think velvet on the finish. This wine’s a keeper in my book of ‘go to’ merlots.