Category Archives: Merlot

Plumpjack Merlot 2005

NAPA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $53
A showy, voluptuous wine with soft, rounded blackberry and black-currant fruit and complex organic notes of bay, cigar box and caramel plus easy tannins. Complex and balanced with a velvety texture, this wine provides a smooth ride, start to finish. A drive to Vegas aboard a sky blue ’56 Eldorado, Cadillac that is — V8, Jetway Hydramatic, 8.20 15’s floating down the highway. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 3/22/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Merlot

Foxen 7200 ‘Little Bird’ 2010

HAPPY CANYON OF SANTA BARBARA | CALIFORNIA | $42
A blueberry and boysenberry crush, with notes of cocoa, graphite, tarragon and orange zest. Medium to full bodied, well integrated and, to a small degree, gamey, with a satiny, slightly laden mouth feel and a lingering, satisfying finish. Rather agile, and surprisingly so, as the initial encounter conveys a weightiness that portends clumsiness — and yet this image rapidly vanishes revealing a complex, sublime soul. Merlin Olsen. 60% Merlot, 40% Petit Verdot. A very good wine. (Reviewed 2/2/13)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Uncategorized

Duckhorn Merlot 2009

NAPA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $52
Mature black cherry with currant and boysenberry, plus complex flavors of licorice, mocha, stone minerals, camphor and orange zest. A medium- to full-bodied wine showing a velvet-smooth texture with a little chew, a slightly laden mouthfeel and firm, present tannins. Very well integrated with excellent fruit-savory balance. In a word, sublime. A thoughtful read, a warm spring-day breeze and a comfortable lounge on the veranda — and the time to be there all day and another. A very good, near excellent wine. (Reviewed 2/9/13)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Merlot

Happy Canyon ‘Chukker 09’ 2009

HAPPY CANYON | CALIFORNIA | $15

Full bodied with forward blackberry and black cherry fruit, plus notes of cocoa, orange zest, graphite and sage. Weighty mouth feel and a smooth texture, slightly rustic. Straight forward and to the point — a boldness that implies complexity. There is something oddly and enjoyably inefficient about this wine: great power harnessed to produce a measured effect — much like the sport that inspired the name from its play period, polo, where sides employ powerful steeds to guide a small orb into a goal. 40% Cabernet Franc, 40% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. A good wine and reliable value year in and year out. (Reviewed 7/14/12)

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Filed under $20 and less, Cabernet Franc, California, Merlot

La Croix Peyrassol 2010

PROVENCE | FRANCE | $15

Young purple plum, raspberry and boysenberry with a bit mint, licorice, pepper and a note of citrus pith. Green tannins, nicely acidic, focused, medium bodied. She’s loud and wields a sharp wit, thought she can be tamed if given some time to air. 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Syrah. A good wine. (Reviewed 6/15/12)

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Filed under $20 and less, France, Merlot

Hedges ‘Red Mountain’ 2009

RED MOUNTAIN | WASHINGTON STATE | $25

Balanced fruit and savory flavors with raspberry, boysenberry and some red cherry up front and nutmeg, cigar box and leather providing an earthy counterweight. Very pleasant with a heavyish satin texture and a satisfying finish. 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Merlot, 22% Syrah, 9% Cabernet Franc. Really a good wine at a very good price. (Reviewed 5/4/12)

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Filed under $21 to $50, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Washington State

Foxen Merlot ‘Range 30 West’ 2007

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $36

Red cherry with wild berries and a hint of pomegranate, balanced with loamy soil, graphite and notes of eucalyptus, coriander and tar. Medium bodied, velvet smooth mouth feel and a lengthy finish. Complex with deep flavors. Here’s a looker who captivates you from across the room and holds your attention long after the small talk. 84% Merlot, 16% Cabernet Sauvignon. A very good wine. (Reviewed 4/17/12)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Merlot

Chateau Du Prieur Cuvée Reserve 2009

BORDEAUX | FRANCE | $8

Ripe purple plum, dark berry, licorice, tar and orange peel pull together to deliver a soft, savory and enjoyable wine. Approachable fruit, slight bitterness and noted tannins. A great value from a great vintage. Nothing wrong with that — unless a under-$10 wine that’s utterly drinkable somehow offends. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. A good wine. (Reviewed 4/8/12)

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Filed under $20 and less, France, Merlot

The House of Independent Producers Merlot Goose Ridge Vineyard ‘La Bourgeoisie’ 2009

COLUMBIA VALLEY | WASHINGTON STATE | $14

Medium bodied delivering soft red cherry with dark berries and a wisp of nectarine. Subtle woody spice, cola and forest floor backnotes. Focused, direct and easy drinking. This wine could redeem modest-priced American Merlot. A good wine. (Reviewed 4/7/12)

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Filed under $20 and less, Merlot, Washington State

Foxen Merlot Voglezang Vineyard 2006

HAPPY CANYON | SANTA YNEZ VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $32

Soft elderberry and red plum fruit filled out and mellowed by wood and spice notes. Bare hints of nutmeg and bay on top, earthy fruit dominates and soft tannins provide weight and balance. Complex, integrated and well-proportioned. Clearly a top Central Coast Merlot — without peer — one that keeps pace with the best from Napa. An unassuming fellow of great warmth, charm and intelligence who delivers more than expected. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/23/10)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Merlot