Category Archives: Merlot

Chateau Belles-Graves Lalande-de-Pomerol 2007

BORDEAUX | FRANCE | $38

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

BORDEAUX | FRANCE | $11

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

BORDEAUX | FRANCE | $10

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

BORDEAUX | FRANCE | $15

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

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $34

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

BORDEAUX | FRANCE | $16

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)

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

Justin ‘Justification’ 2007

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $50

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

NAPA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $50

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

HAPPY CANYON | CALIFORNIA

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