- Reply by Richard Foxall, Mar 20, 2011.
I'm generally not a fan of California merlots, but it would be helpful to know what you like that you have had, as always. I prefer St. Emillion and Pomerol Bordeaux, which are usually blended with Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon, to their Cal equivalents. Merlot styles, imo, differ quite a bit between most of the California bottlings and the French. "Good" is very subjective, but there are certain wines that have received high scores, a lot of press, fame, etc. Duckhorn is well known for merlot, it's easy to find, but I don't like it. Keenan makes merlot that's very different and has a following of its own. If you give a couple examples, I am sure that folks here can name a variety of wines that might suit you.
- Reply by galleyho, Mar 20, 2011.
Well, here is my merlot wine suggestion. What I like may not meet your expectations and vice versa. But the good news is that in August I am facilitating a varietal wine tasting at a retreat centered around Crater Lake National Park, Oregon.
We will be tasting a California Merlot (ten years old, aged at the winery), an '06 Pinot Noir (Sonoma county) and an '07 Cab Sauv (Wash State). We will be following the guidance of one of America's premier wine experts, Kevin Zraly, to discern the nuances of three primary grapes of the United States West Coast. If you are interested in attending here is the link.
- Reply by duncan 906, Mar 29, 2011.
Like Foxall I prefer a Right Bank Bordeaux where merlot is blended with other grapes to a straight merlot
- Reply by amour, Apr 13, 2013.
Santa Rita Winery/ Chile
An interesting and surprisingly fairly complex, (but..I must say.....slightly too rustic) cheap regular Merlot from Chile (Central Valley).
At first I thought nothing to write home about....but as the night unfolds...it really is nice..especially as it opened up in the glass.....having it with a simple rustic beef stew with baby carrots, baby corn, and baby portobella mushrooms and sweet peppers and brown & wild black rice and a rocket salad!
mild goat cheese after with Carr's water biscuits
light fruit cocktail for dessert
music by John Legend
a good night walk about on the large terrace...
- Reply by EMark, Apr 13, 2013.
CJF, you will, probably, be getting answers from all over the place here, and I am going to chip in. I am guessing that what you meant to write in your question was that you are looking for recommendations that are "easy" to locate. It is not clear where you live so, unfortunately, what is easy for me may not be easy for you.
I enjoy Merlot dominant Bordeaux like the ones mentioned, above, but do not have any specific recommendations for you.
My friend Foxall mentions Keenan, and there he hits my Merlot sweet spot. Keenan wines are available in retail stores, but they are not necessarily the easiest to find. Keenan has multiple Merlot bottlings--Spring Mountain District/Carneros/Napa Valley--and prices are going to range from about $30 to about $60. The Keenan Merlots are quite full-bodied ageworthy wines. I love them, but they probably don't match many Merlot lovers' expectations.
Washington state is putting out some very good Merlots. Columbia-Crest has very wide distribution, and their wines are priced very nicely.
I've posted about this wine in the past and you may or may not be able to find it--a Merlot/Sangiovese blend from Tuscany called Badiola. I've purchased it lately at my local Costco for $9.99. You may or may not be near a Costco, and, even if so, yours may or may not have it (or any wine at all, local laws being what they might).
As a Merlot lover you may be interested in this recent Snooth article on Napa Valley Merlots.
I hope you you are able to take advantage of some of the recommendations that you get from your question. I also hope you come back and tell us more about what you have enjoyed.
- Reply by jtryka, Apr 13, 2013.
Funny this topic should come up, I just had a 2005 Clos du Val Napa Valley Merlot a week or so ago, and it's actually one of the great CA merlots that remind me of a nice Bordeaux blend (the fact that it has some Cab Franc and Cab Sauv in the blend helps too). In any case, I bought the bottle for about $17 which I thought was a terrific value for what it was. Good luck and please share what you find!
- Reply by gregt, Apr 14, 2013.
Did CJF ever come back? Post was from March 20, 2011.
Did he or she ever find that Merlot?
- Reply by EMark, Apr 15, 2013.
Normally, I check the original posting date but, obviously, ignored it this time. I swear, I get stupider every day.
- Reply by Richard Foxall, Apr 16, 2013.
Don't beat yourself up, Emark--it gave me a warm feeling to be called your friend, so it wasn't in vain.
Also caused me to comment that I am beginning to think that merlot is the right grape to blend with sangio, if you are going to blend. Syrah and cab seem to overwhelm it, while merlot just takes a little of the edge off the sometimes biting acids. In fact, sangio might be a better partner for merlot than the usual suspects of CS and CF, which perhaps benefit slightly by blending, but stand alone well when grown in the right conditions--warm enough for CS to ripen, not overly warm for CF so that it turns bombastic instead of leafy and spicy. Save that merlot for Super Tuscans or for the 15% other allowed in Morellino di Scansano.