Category Archives: Merlot

Chateau Belles-Graves Lalande-de-Pomerol 2007


Ripe cherry, dark berry and plum fruit, soft and approachable, supported with coins-in-hand minerality and woody tannins. Hints of bay, anise, cardamom and cola. Ever so slightly, naturally acidic, bringing a modest perk to the finish. Cohesive and well balanced. An excellent wine; as the importer declares, what Merlot should be. (Reviewed 12/19/10)

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Filed under $21 to $50, France, Merlot

Chateau du Pin Bordeaux 2009


Purple plum and dark berry fruit with notes of violets, bay and fennel. Well integrated with savory flavors balancing young fruit. Medium bodied with a generous mouth feel. Supple tannins bring structure and tame but present acidity provides buoyancy. A modest-priced wine with classic characteristics from a great vintage. 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. A very good wine. (Reviewed 3/5/12)

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Filed under $20 and less, France, Merlot

Chateau Haut-Domingue 2009


Purple plum with dark berry accents integrated with earthy flavors of cedar, juniper berry, bay and sarsaparilla. Light to medium bodied, low 12% alcohol and a natural fruit acidity on the finish — sufficient acidity to pair well with food yet tame enough to be drunk on its own. This cat has style: Levis, a T-shirt and a pawn shop-guitar, and he plays flawless jazz. 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc. A very good wine and an exceptional value. (Reviewed 2/20/12)

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Filed under $20 and less, Cabernet Sauvignon, France, Merlot

Chateau de Terrefort Lecalle 2009


Raspberry and dried cranberry fruit with cardamom, cinnamon and a hint of compost. Medium bodied with a firm tannic structure and finish. An enigma, and she knows it. Graceful and charming to a point, and then uptight and firm. And we love it. Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A very good wine. (Reviewed 2/16/12)

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Filed under $20 and less, Cabernet Sauvignon, France, Merlot

Di Bruno Merlot Grassini Vineyard 2006


Forward blueberry, red plum and mango fruit with chalk and graphite minerals, eucalyptus, redwood and dry earth. Bright acidity, somewhat roughly textured and without significant subtlety. A good wine, but other vintners have coaxed far more from these grapes. (Reviewed 9/11/11)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Merlot

Chateau de Macard Bordeaux Superieur 2009


Ripe, medium-bodied blackberry fruit with notes of plum, barnyard, cola and bay. A bit gamey, nicely so, and reasonably complex. Finishes full with low acid. What is exceptional is the price — readily available at $10-12. But no cheap date, this; you’ll find manners, style and charm. Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. A good wine. (Reviewed 12/13/11)


Filed under $20 and less, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, France, Merlot

Justin ‘Justification’ 2007


A Cabernet Franc-Merlot blend presenting jammy blackberry fruit, hints of mission fig and purple plum, and notes of allspice and bay with a rich chalky minerality. Big bodied yet balanced. Somewhat rustic showing tight, puckering tannins and a bright acidic finish. Like original 501 Levi’s, there’s a break-in period needed here. The first fit is bracing; the third reveals potential. But the second glass, now that’s a very good wine. (Reviewed 11/19/11)

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Filed under $21 to $50, Cabernet Franc, California, Merlot

Twomey Merlot 2004


Supple dark-berry fruit, but only the deepest flavors of the fruit. Soft spice notes with a wisp of bay and coriander. Firm, chewy tannins. Balanced from end to end; starts and finishes with confidence. Nothing to hide here; this is what Napa Merlot can and should be. Sorry Miles, but good Merlot is simply good. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/17/10)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Merlot

Happy Canyon Vineyards ‘Barrack Brand’ 2006


Ripe purple plum, black currant and cherry fruit with a dusty earthiness of forest woods, roasted chicory and cocoa. Hints of black pepper and cardamom. A full-flavored Merlot blend structured with ample Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. From the hot inland side of the Santa Ynez Valley. Well defined, big bodied with a silky texture and a lasting finish. The linebacker turned actor — successfully so. A very good wine. (Reviewed 9/26/11)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Merlot