Best Merlot 2/2011

Quality and value


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An old-world styled winner

2006 Toad Hollow Russian River Valley Merlot Reserve  Richard McDowell Vineyard 14.5%, $19

Pungent, weedy and smoky, this smells lean, old-world, and cool-climate at first, though with air, the nose gains focus and fruit. In the mouth, it’s again quite cool-climate styled with lots of bright red cherry fruit, some stiff little tannins and juicy acids all making this an outlier in the world of California Merlot. Definitely not a particularly big wine, it is ripe and complex and well styled for the dinner table. There’s a bit of cocoa on the backend and the finish is fairly long with a bit of an earthy character and some slight vanilla and spice tones from oak. This is a little rustic, and tough at times without the flamboyance or opulence of most California Merlot but therein lies its beauty. A lovely, expressive, distinctive wine that one can drink all night long and never tire from it. 90pts

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  • Snooth User: shelley m
    359085 1

    I am confused on the years, your labels have one year on them and the description on the right have a different year.

    Feb 10, 2011 at 3:40 AM

  • Snooth User: sowen246
    760024 24

    The 2007 Waterbrook Reserve Merlot belongs on this list and is an excellent value, as it con be found as low as $12. WS rated it 92

    Feb 10, 2011 at 9:27 AM

  • OMG - the Apocalypse is here. I never thought I would see Barefoot wines on this site. I applaud the resurgence of Merlot for two reasons: (1) we might see more good Merlots, and (2) the Sideways 'sheep' might lay off on demand for Pinot Noir. Please don't bring Yellow Tail or Charles Shaw into our world....

    Feb 10, 2011 at 7:46 PM

  • Snooth User: wolfarthe
    1145575 50

    Dittoo on the 2007 Waterbrook REserve Merlot..outstanding example of what's happening in Washington. Smooth, silky, refined yet packs a punch......

    Oct 08, 2012 at 7:13 PM

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