Merlot from $15 and Under

A collection of fantastic value Merlots

 


Flavors are dominated by pomegranate. This is a bit of an old school Sonoma wine with a slightly rustic edge but a real honest feel. It’s fresh, with tannins that are smooth but offer a nice textural edginess to the finish. 86pts Read Full Review

Traits
    Acid: Medium-low
    Tannins: Soft and Polished
    Sweetness: Medium-low
    Oak: Medium
    Spicy Flavors: Low
    Savory Flavors: Low
    Fruity Flavors: Medium
    Intensity of Flavor: Medium
    Weight in Mouth: Medium

 

2009 J. Lohr Los Osos Paso Robles Merlot 13.5% $13

Flavors are dominated by cherry and vanilla. This is a soft, slightly chewy wine that delivers plenty of fruit but might disappoint if kept for more than a year or two. I can see the fruit drying out and leaving behind a lot of sweet and not so sweet oak. 86pts Read Full Review

Traits
    Acid: Low
    Tannins: Medium
    Sweetness: Moderate-low
    Oak: Medium
    Spicy Flavors: Medium
    Savory Flavors: Medium
    Fruity Flavors: Medium-plus
    Intensity of Flavor: Medium-plus
    Weight in Mouth: Medium-plus

2009 Bogle Vineyards California Merlot 13.5% $10

Flavors are dominated by dried fruits. This is a decidedly middle of the road effort with everything pretty much in balance, creating a fairly fresh wine with good balance of fruit and wood spice. 85pts Read Full Review

Traits
    Acid: Medium-low
    Tannins: Soft and Abundant
    Sweetness: Moderate
    Oak: Medium Low
    Spicy Flavors: Medium-low
    Savory Flavors: Medium
    Fruity Flavors: Medium-plus
    Intensity of Flavor: Medium-plus
    Weight in Mouth: Medium

2009 Parducci Small Lot Blend Mendocino Co. Merlot 13.5% $10

Flavors are dominated by red cherry. The oak is very apparent here making this fairly spicy on the palate, but it does remain dry and fresh in the mouth. 84pts Read Full Review

Traits
    Acid: Medium
    Tannins: Some Drying Tannins
    Sweetness: Moderate
    Oak: Medium-plus
    Spicy Flavors: Medium-plus
    Savory Flavors: Low
    Fruity Flavors: Medium-low
    Intensity of Flavor: Medium
    Weight in Mouth: Medium
 

2008 Francis Coppola Diamond Collection Blue Label California Merlot 13.5% $15

Flavors are dominated by baked plums. This is soft and fleshy in the mouth with integrated wood tones accenting the plummy fruit. Lacks some acidity, making it a bit too soft for me. 84pts Read Full Review

Traits
    Acid: Low
    Tannins: Soft
    Sweetness: Moderate
    Oak: Medium
    Spicy Flavors: Low
    Savory Flavors: Low
    Fruity Flavors: Medium-high
    Intensity of Flavor: Strong
    Weight in Mouth: Medium-heavy

2010 Woodbridge by Robert Mondavi California Merlot 12.5% $6

Flavors are dominated by spicy oak. This offers up a nice, smooth mouth feel with plenty of spicy oak flavors. 82pts Read Full Review

Traits
    Acid: Low
    Tannins: Soft
    Sweetness: Moderate
    Oak: Medium-plus
    Spicy Flavors: Medium-plus
    Savory Flavors: Medium
    Fruity Flavors: Medium-low
    Intensity of Flavor: Medium
    Weight in Mouth: Medium-plus

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Merlot $15 and Under

1.
Bonterra Vineyards Merlot Mendocino County (2008)
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2.
Jacuzzi Family Vineyards Carneros Estate Merlot (2008)
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3.
Concha Y Toro Merlot Casillero del Diablo (2010)
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4.
Estancia Central Coast Merlot (2009)
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5.
Wilson Daniels Merlot Central Coast Merlot Ca (2010)
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6.
Kenwood Merlot (2009)
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7.
J. Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot (2009)
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8.
Bogle Vineyards Merlot California (2009)
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9.
Parducci Small Lot Blend Merlot (2009)
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10.
Francis Co Shiraz (2008)
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11.
Woodbridge By Robert Mondavi Cabernet-Merlot California (2010)
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Comments

  • Snooth User: Santiago53
    111056 10

    I like your experiment. The quick notes formula is great for scanning the essentials of a wine and getting an idea of what's in it, e.g. Oak: medium-low is great way for those of us who share your aversion to over-oaking to note if the wine is an attractive candidate.

    Good work. I hope other reviewers take note of this approach.

    Oct 02, 2012 at 6:01 PM


  • Snooth User: bowriver
    1032182 18

    I agree with Santiago about the new note format; very informative & quick to read.

    Oct 02, 2012 at 7:07 PM


  • Snooth User: Zaffiro
    929872 5

    The most useful descriptions I've ever read on a wine review. Kudos!

    Oct 02, 2012 at 7:25 PM


  • Snooth User: Toms46
    159607 3

    As the old philosopher said "Keep it simple". I like the look!!

    Oct 02, 2012 at 10:43 PM


  • What i would do is have links to the traits that explain what each one means with a quick definition of the trait's 'level'. For example, define "oak" and "medium-low" vs. "medium" or "high" and what this means in reality/plain English. This will help a wine dummy begin to appreciate and use the terms and help them actually use this guidence.

    Oct 03, 2012 at 4:25 AM


  • Snooth User: Micael
    591259 61

    Great initiative Greg. I love the descriptions and the consumer friendly way to evaluate the wines.

    Congratulations!

    Oct 03, 2012 at 8:03 AM


  • Snooth User: JLCr
    1010951 41

    As a wine "dummy" as described above - the thought of being able to click to get a generic description of what each trait is and what impact it has on the taste would be a great primer as I purchase the various wines you critique and explore your descriptions with my experience. Thanks for making it simpler!!!!!!!

    Oct 03, 2012 at 11:08 AM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 213,970

    Awesome feedback folks. I'm excited to be on what seems to be the right path for making wine simpler and easier to appreciate! Thanks for taking the time to comment!

    Oct 03, 2012 at 11:13 AM


  • Snooth User: EMark
    Hand of Snooth
    847804 6,150

    I guess I FUBARed the comment that I tried to leave, yesterday. I very much appreciate the new reporting scheme. I have a question on the "Tannins" metric. I'm OK with "Soft" and "Medium," but a tad confused with "Drying." Would "Drying" indicate more tannic than "Medium?"

    Oct 03, 2012 at 2:50 PM


  • Snooth User: Gregory Dal Piaz
    Hand of Snooth Voice of Snooth
    89065 213,970

    Drying is more a reference to the quality of the tannin than the quantity. I have to make sure I list both in the future. Thanks for the question.

    Oct 03, 2012 at 3:22 PM


  • If you are a wine lover you will understand about the quick notes I disagreed. As my Grandpa said, talk about wines is as talk about woman: you have to describe how she looks, how she smells, how she taste. Size her as small, medium or large doesnt tell us to much. Thats why we have to learn more from europeans and southamericans (european school of wine). Among wines I prefer notes as elegant, fresh, young, smooth, round, large end at mouth, black or green pepper, chery, strawberry, pineapple, chocolate or plums, french or america oak, leather or mineral. Remember that frenches catalogue the merlot as the "sexy" vineyard. Don´t be to short to describe it pls. Tks.

    Oct 06, 2012 at 12:27 AM


  • Snooth User: zufrieden
    Hand of Snooth
    259386 3,866

    For the average drinker, the objective is to find something tasty and affordable. A two-stage system of reviews might be quite useful in that the person seeking to understand the basic features of a wine can arrive at a buying decision without foppery and histrionics, while the more obsessive aficionado can still indulge in some poetic license. If the objective is to delineate the skeletal from the fleshy, then perhaps there is merit in providing a Reader's Digest style review - assuming the full-on version is also available...

    Oct 06, 2012 at 10:11 PM


  • Snooth User: liamok
    441168 6

    I'm confused ... are you talking about Woodbridge Merlot or Cabernet-Merlot?

    Oct 10, 2012 at 10:14 PM


  • Snooth User: db157
    549743 54

    what is great in this simplified structure for begginers like myself is to have these set of properties evaluated on wines as we go along. Over time we end up with map of wines with same or similar properties so one can look at "similar" wines based on his/hers favourite wine and grow the bucket list, explore... Allows us to try things beyond geography,time and points. Great idea. Let me know if you'd like me to demo the mapping/clustering idea in practice

    Nov 09, 2012 at 1:02 AM


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