Value Merlot

It’s time to think about Merlot again

A bit tight on the nose with an early hint of minerality followed by some tobacco and dried chile notes along with mint topped cherry and plum fruit. Soft and broad in the mouth with nice transparency to the black fruit on the palate. There’s a faint suggestion of black raspberry sweetness to the fruit which is washed away on the mid palate by slightly creamy chocolate and carob notes and a soft wash of herbaceousness. No really tannins to speak of, this is smooth and easy drinking yet delivers a little complexity along with nicely bright fruit and shows a little licorice and a hint of minerality on the moderately long finish. 85pts 
Sweet cherry fruit marries with charry oak notes, some dried tomato and attractive dried herb aromas on the nose. Soft and low on entry, this shows a bit of sweetness along with the red berry fruit while maintaining a bit of herbaceousness in the mouth. The fruit on the palate shows that same tomato like fruitiness that one gets on the nose, and it leads to a modest little finish which again shows a touch of sweetness but buffered by some dry tannins. rather simple but well balanced and fresh enough to warrant another sip. 84pts
Rather big and herbal on the nose but lovely ripe herbs all laid upon a base of sweet black currant and blackberry fruit supported by some cedary oak. Round, soft and a bit matte in the mouth this delivers slightly meaty and cocoa dusted black fruits with a subtle leathery edge. The acidity is a bit low for me, and the tannins rather soft but this rich, smooth style should prove to be very appealing. The backend shows black currant fruit which turns into sweet black cherry flavors on the slightly sticky and modest finish. A mini fruit bomb. 84pts
Lots of old wood greets the nose followed by dusty, earthy dried herb and lingonberry aromas with a leathery top note. Smells a little Shiraz like! Rich and opulent in the mouth with some minor yet assertive tannins and solid acidity supporting a rather rich at this price point, core of plum, chocolate, and faintly green nutty fruit with a light thin mint note on the back end. The flavors here are quite new world, aas is the texture, the aromas the only clue that this is old world, though the South of France has plenty of heat and sun to make this style of wine. I like the acidity here, which freshens the fruit on the moderately long and slightly drying with brushy tannins finish but this strikes me as a compromise wine that will struggle to find an audience. 83pts
Smokey and pleasantly weedy on the nose under rather rich cocoa dusted raspberry fruit. Medium light bodied in the mouth and simple with easy going plummy fruit and some subtle cocoa and herb notes adding a little complexity along with a late arriving vanilla tone. There’s plenty of acid here and a little tannin to add some weight in the mouth but this is a very easy drinking, soft and fruity style of Merlot. 83pts

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Top Value Merlot tasted 10/13

Liberty School Merlot (2011)
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Kenwood Sonoma County Merlot (2010)
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Gilles Louvet Merlot Element Terre (2011)
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Washington Hills Merlot (2011)
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  • I think Washington State is showing excellent terroir for Merlot, probably due to daylength during the growing season. They just seem to do Merlot well. And, lots of good values there.

    Oct 31, 2013 at 9:21 PM

  • Snooth User: hestamm
    1176940 24

    I just finished a bottle of Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills Merlot 2009, recently purchased at Costco for about $12.00. Absolutely delicious, with good fruit and supported by tasty oak. It's at its peak right now and I plan on grabbing some more.

    Nov 01, 2013 at 9:24 AM

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