has had a rough time over the past few years. Once everyone’s favorite easy-drinking red, Merlot was stigmatized by Miles’ famous line in Sideways
: “We are not drinking any %^@#ing Merlot!” So, what were we drinking before we had this group infatuation with Pinot Noir then? Well, it was Merlot!
So, where is Merlot today? It’s a good question and one the savvy consumer should be asking. All the attention that had once been focused on Merlot, but quickly switched allegiances, left Merlot producers oversupplied for the marketplace. You know what that generally means: falling prices as production exceeds demand and increased quality as lands that may have been over-cropped or irrationally planted to Merlot get budded over to more valuable varieties or farmed for quality over quantity.
Today, Merlot is seeing something of a restoration of its reputation. With less bad Merlot on the market, consumers can finally begin to understand not only the grape but the styles that California is capable of -- not to mention Washington, Chile, South Africa… you name it. This sampling of Merlot was quite narrow, with just a few from outside California but offers up a little something for just about everybody. Merlot remains an easy-drinking, crowd-pleasing wine, though there are wines that test the limits from rich and powerfully extracted to elegant and exceptionally refined. The only trick here is finding the one you like!See pages 2-3 for tasting notes on 17 Merlots