Merlot is a dark blue-colored wine grape variety, that is used as both a blending grape and for varietal wines. Its softness and "fleshiness", combined with its earlier ripening, makes Merlot a popular grape for blending with the sterner, later-ripening Cabernet Sauvignon, which tends to be higher in tannin. Along with Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot, Merlot is one of the primary grapes used in Bordeaux wine, and it is the most widely planted grape in the Bordeaux wine regions. While Merlot is made across the globe, there tends to be two main styles. The "International style" favored by many New World wine regions tends to emphasize late harvesting to gain physiological ripeness and produce inky, purple colored wines that are full in body with high alcohol and lush, velvety tannins with intense, plum and blackberry fruit. While this international style is practiced by many Bordeaux wine producers, the traditional "Bordeaux style" of Merlot involves harvesting Merlot earlier to maintain acidity and producing more medium-bodied wines with moderate alcohol levels that have fresh, red fruit flavors (raspberries, strawberries) and potentially leafy, vegetal notes.
- Item #: i_211250Bottle Size: 750mlMerlot excels at Ancient Peaks' estate Margarita Vineyard and has been a mainstay in their small family of wines since day one. Here, ancient sea bed soils combine with a long growing season to yield a Merlot with silky dark fruit flavors and a luscious texture, resulting in what has become one of the Paso Robles region’s most notable Merlots. Ancient Peaks blends fruit from three different Merlot blocks that exhibit a range of distinct qualities, bringing added natural complexity and dimension to the finished wine. These blocks are situated along the slopes of an uplifted ancient sea bed, where the well-drained, calcium-rich soils are distinguished by decomposing oyster fossils.
Ancient Peaks' aim is to capture the signature velvety fruit character of Merlot while showcasing the fine structure inherent to Margarita Vineyard. After destemming, the lots were cold soaked for 72 hours prior to fermentation for a gentle extraction of initial color and flavor. After fermentation and light pressing, the lots were aged for 20 months in a combination of French (70%) and American (30%) oak barrels, 25 percent of which featured new oak.
This Merlot delivers rich black and red fruit aromas with intriguing hints of cedar, mocha and eucalyptus. The palate is juicy and rounded, offering a flavor tapestry of black cherry, raspberry, vanilla and brown spice. Firm tannins and luscious acidity take this Merlot to the next level, finishing with a refined heft that is rooted in its Margarita Vineyard terroir.
- Item #: i_253710Bottle Size: 750MLInspired by the Apotheca, a mysterious place where wine was blended and stored in 13th century Europe, Apothic Red offers a truly unique wine experience. This masterful blend of flavorful Syrah, rich Zinfandel, and smooth Merlot reveals intense fruit aromas and flavors of blackberry and dark cherry layered with hints of mocha, chocolate and brown spice. The plush, velvety mouthfeel and smooth finish round out this intriguing, full-bodied red blend.
- Item #: i_201230Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - "Arietta's 2014 Merlot Hudson Vineyards is gorgeous. Surprisingly, it is also richer, deeper and more pedigreed than the Quartet and Cabernet Sauvignon in this vintage. Exquisitely layered and supple, the 2014 possesses striking depth to match its creamy, inviting personality. Layers of plum, black cherry and mocha built into the supple, inviting finish. Naturally, the 2014 is quite young. It can be enjoyed today, but readers who appreciate the complexity that develops only in bottle will have to be patient."
- Item #: i_205100Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsJEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "A more Merlot dominated cuvee that includes 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, the 2015 Merlot Front Man sports a deep ruby/purple color to go with a ripe, sexy, exuberant style on the palate. Currants, plums, black cherries, spicy oak and dried flower notes all flow from this medium to full-bodied, hedonistic beauty that does everything right. I don't think it's going to make the oldest of bones, but given its balance and purity, it might just surprise."
- Item #: i_206720Bottle Size: 750MLBlackbird Vineyards has provided quietly fruit to many of Napa's finest wineries: Lail, Pride, and Viader. Mia Klein, formerly at Dalla Valle, created a vineyard-designate for her highly acclaimed 1999 Selene Merlot. Three of the top critics (Parker, Tanzer and Wine Spectator), scored their first release in the 90s. Blackbird continues to provide fruit to such winemakers as Bob Foley (Robert Foley, Hourglass).
The Blackbird wines are crafted by Aaron Pott, a winemaker who has a one-of-a-kind pedigree and produces several highly sought-after wines. The grapes for the Arise bottling come brom Blackbird's own vineyards in the Oak Knoll District, augmented with fruit from Hudson Vineyard in Carneros, Stagecoach Vineyard in the Vaca Mountains, and Crocker and Starr Vineyard.
A blend of 38% Merlot, 32% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 30% Cabernet Franc, , the 2014 Arise entices with aromas of black currant, freshly-picked summer blackberries, cedar stick, and roasted clove. With flavors of licorice, pipe tobacco, Bing cherry, and nutty fig, this wine has a richly layered mid-palate that is complimented by soft texture, good density, and a long, lingering finish.
- Item #: i_205840Bottle Size: 750MLWhat is Bonterra wine? It’s a family of bright, fresh and balanced varietals just as they’re meant to be. Our organic growing approach creates grapes that are pure, vibrant and intense in flavor. This provides our winemakers with the very best fruit from which to work. From there it is simply about delivering the best expression of that fruit from our vines to your glass.
- Item #: i_206075Bottle Size: 750mlVivid ruby in color, cherry, cassis, and succulent herbs on the fragrant nose are joined by a slowly building tobacco nuance. Plush and supple in texture, showing good depth to the lively bitter cherry and black currant flavors. A smoky note appears on the finish, which features velvety tannins and lingering dark berry character.
- Item #: i_207510Bottle Size: 750mlCakebread's 2016 Napa Valley Merlot is a savory, bold and structured wine, with a firm foundation. Hints of dried herbs, along with aromas of deep blackberry and black cherry, are evident along with mineral notes of crushed stone. The flavors are deeply concentrated with black plum, as well as fresh blackberries to match the nose. Characteristic freshness and acidity are followed by silky textures and refined, elegant tannins.
- Item #: i_208230Bottle Size: 750mlThis vintage comes from Cannonball's estate vineyard, Adam and Eve, in the Northern Russian River Valley, as well as some favorite vineyards in Sonoma Valley. Fermentation was controlled with a cold soak prior to yeast inoculation and draining and pressing at 2 Brix prior to seed tannin extraction. The 2014 is 91% Merlot blended with small amounts of Petite Sirah and Syrah for complexity.
The aroma of the wine shows fresh huckleberries, light brown spice and nuances of toasty oak. On the palate the wine is medium-full bodied with classic Bordeaux proportions, wonderful concentration, with flavors of cherry, rich chocolate and spiced cake. The wine finishes with perfectly balanced texture and flavor and a refreshing brightness. Enjoy with red meats, duck and pasta with rich sauces.
- Item #: i_276200Bottle Size: 750mlThis little devil is wrapped in a velvet robe. Full with density and bursting with flavor. Dark fruit, cherry, blackberry. Brimming with cedar, pipe tobacco and earth. Truth in a name: Velvet!
- Item #: i_257570Bottle Size: 750mlCold Creek’s 40-year-old vines deliver a big, bold, brooding Merlot. This rich Merlot is loaded with plum, cherry and dark fruit flavors with hints of dark chocolate and coffee. This is our most intense and concentrated Merlot with great ageability.
- Item #: i_212760Bottle Size: 750mlThe growing season was long and cool, allowing the grapes to hang on the vine and mature longer. As a result, this Merlot exhibits exceptional concentration and a beautiful, lengthy finish. To enrich the color, small amounts of Syrah and Petite Sirah are blended in. Then, the wine is aged in small French oak barrels, which lend lovely notes of sweet vanilla to this elegant, full-bodied Merlot.
- Item #: i_215470Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of 65% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 5% Petit Verdot.
ANTONIO GALLONI 91-94 POINTS - "The 2016 Merlot Cuvee 37.2 may turn out to be even better than 2015. Dark and sumptuous in the glass, the 2016 exudes richness in all of its dimensions. The tannin needs to soften a bit more, but otherwise, the 2016 is shaping up to be fabulous."
- Item #: i_216760Bottle Size: 750mlNot to take away from any of the other wines, but this is the wine that really stood out for several of us. And why not? They’ve been at the forefront of Merlot for decades! Ruby/garnet in color, this is a luscious and forward Merlot with a touch of Cabernet blended in, displaying aromas and flavors of black cherry, loganberry, blueberry, plum and cinnamon spice. A knockout for the price, the wine finishes with velvety tannins, excellent purity, and a lip-smacking finish!
- Item #: i_241510Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 92Do you want to get a real glimpse into the characteristics and style of the 2009 vintage in Washington, then you don't need to look any further. Delille has been somewhat under the radar, but if the quality in this Merlot blend doesn't open your eyes, we don't know what will! "D2" is the main highway that runs through Bordeaux, so being that this is a Merlot-based blend (just like the right bank of Bordeaux), the name is apt. This year, the wine is a blend of 58% Merlot, 36% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "Very few Washington wineries can match DeLille for the way their wines combine sheer fruit intensity and structure. The current releases are wonderfully pliant and accessible, even if the best of them will last splendidly."
"(this Columbia Valley blend of nearly 20 sources represents 35% of this winery's production; 11,500 cases were made in 2014): Bright ruby. Pungent fruit-driven aromas of cranberry, pomegranate and blackberry. Plush and seamless on the palate, with blackberry and blueberry flavors complicated by a savory dried-berry note that I associate with Red Willow vineyard. Wonderfully pliant from the start, this beauty finishes very long and suave, with utterly smooth tannins. Great fruit here!"
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - "The ruby-colored 2014 D2 Proprietary Red Wine is the entry-level Bordeaux blend of the estate and is named after the D2 highway in Bordeaux. It's a soft, voluptuous, medium-bodied effort that offers loads of currants, black cherries, strawberries and leafy herb aromas and flavors. It's already hard to resist, yet there's quality tannin hiding under its fruit, and I suspect it will surprise you with its longevity."
- Item #: i_276160Bottle Size: 750mlThe latest wine from Roots Run Deep Winery, Educated Guess Napa Valley Merlot comes from top vineyards in Yountville and Oak Knoll. A significant portion of this wine was barrel fermented which adds great texture, complexity, and weight to the wine. Flavors of dark plum, wild berries, cassis and chocolate are well integrated with French oak. If you enjoy their Cabernet Sauvignon, you are going to love their Merlot!
- Item #: i_223050Bottle Size: 750mlContinuing the legacy of the Wagner Family's other profound wine ventures such as Caymus, Belle Glos, and Conundrum, Jenny Wagner takes the reins of Emmolo Winery and is making a hit with these new releases! Her family has a long-standing history in Napa Valley beginning with her great-grandfather, Italian immigrant, Salvatore Emmolo, who planted grapevines and started a grapevine rootstock nursery in Rutherford in the 1920's. His son, and Jenny's grandfather, Frank Emmolo, ran Emmolo Nursery and built a strong following amongst Napa Valley grapegrowers - becoming the leading supplier to Napa Valley vintners for five decades.
Jenny Wagner sourced grapes for this vintage from the Emmolo Oak Knoll vineyard located near the city of Napa in a sub-appellation called Oak Knoll. It's ten miles nearer the San Francisco Bay than Rutherford and has a cooler microclimate. The site was strategically chosen for its soils and moderate climate, which are appropriate for growing Merlot. Merlot flourishes at this site thanks to the cooler weather - a mild climate allows the berries to hang on the vine longer, letting them fully mature. Crop thinning is essential to balance the vines with a low yield of rich, concentrated fruit that's dark in color and has chalky tannins and ripe flavors. This wine is very much an expression of the well-drained, low vigor soil that is light in color in the Oak Knoll appellation.