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CHEESE PAIRING:
Brie
Camembert
Dubliner
Colby
Romano
Gorgozola Dolce
Pt. Reyes Blue

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Much to the dismay of serious wine drinkers, Merlot became the media darling of the 1990s, prompting many vineyards to dig up less popular varietals for the easy to drink and pronounce Merlot. While many gallons of plonk were produced to meet sudden consumer demand, there is still a place for this over-exposed varietal. Now planted all over the world Merlot is not going anywhere and is still probably the most requested red wine in the US. The hard part is finding ones that are worth drinking. Currently, the best ones for the money are coming out of South America with Bordeaux and Napa scoring high on quality, as well as price. It was a Chilean Merlot that turned me on to red wine and for that I'm eternally grateful. Hopefully, I'll be wowed again someday, though I'm not holding my breath.

WHAT TO EXPECT: A medium colored wine with a low amount of tannin and acidity, which makes it easier to drink when young. On the palate are dark fruit flavors of black cherry, strawberry, fig and plum with occasional spicy, nutty and herbal notes. The hotter the climate the more fruit forward the wine will be. Most are merely fruit bombs with a velvety texture and very little complexity. If you don't want to think about what you're drinking this is the varietal for you.

HOT REGIONS: California, South America, Australia

COOL REGIONS: Bordeaux (St. Emilion & Pomerol), parts of Napa Valley, New Zealand and Italy.



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spacer.gif2007 Cakebread Cellars Merlot, Napa, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2007 Montes Alpha Merlot, Colchagua Valley, ChileRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Chateau D'Aiguilhe Comtes de Neipperg, Bordeaux, FranceRATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Chateau La Tour Figeac Grand Cru, St-Emilion, BordeauxRATING: ***
spacer.gif2005 Chateau Souverain Merlot, Sonoma, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Dark Star Cellars Merlot, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Halter Ranch Merlot, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Sobon Family NOBOS Merlot, Sonoma, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2005 Swanson Vineyards Merlot, Sonoma, CARATING: ***
spacer.gif2004 Buttonwood Farm Merlot, Santa Barbara, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Chateau Quinalt "L'Enclos" Grand Cru, St. Emilion, BordeauxRATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Moonstone Cellars Merlot, Cambria, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2004 RiverStar Vineyards Merlot, Paso Robles, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2004 Sebastiani Vineyards Sonoma County Merlot, Sonoma, CARATING: **
spacer.gif2003 Columbia Crest Two Vines Merlot, Columbia Valley, WARATING: **
spacer.gif2003 Chateau Haut-Colombier Blaye, Bordeaux, FranceRATING: ***
spacer.gif2002 Monjardin Deyo Merlot, Navarra, SpainRATING: *
spacer.gif1997 Rutherford Hill Merlot, Napa, CARATING: **


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**** Outstanding | *** Delicious | ** Enjoyable | * Drinkable
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