Tasted: Merlot

By / Wine + Drinks / November 27th, 2014 / 4

Merlot has suffered the consequences of a world obsessed with the new and trendy. How unfashionable it has become to order a Merlot from a wine list. What would people think?! But here’s the thing; the Merlot grape is incredibly versatile and can produce an array of wines, from simple and fruity to deeply powerful and complex. To skip over a wine simply because it is Merlot is a disservice to your palate.

Those same drinkers who scoff at the variety on the wine list would probably ask for a Super-Tuscan or Grand Cru Saint-Emilion to be brought to their table, not knowing, that ‘surprise’…there’s Merlot in that bottle.

Here are a few of our favourites, from easy-drinking to cellar worthy. Cheers!

Flat Roof Manor Merlot 2010

Reviewed by: Rick VanSickle
Editor Rating: Very Good
$11
South Africa

Review Summary:
Notes of cherry-kirsch, blueberry and sweet vanilla spice on the nose. It’s an easy-drinking red on the palate with a core of sweet cherry and cassis fruit and light oak spice.

Beringer Stone Cellars Merlot 2009

Reviewed by: Rick VanSickle
Editor Rating: Very Good
$14
California, USA

Review Summary:
A simple and easy-drinking Merlot that shows notes of ripe cherry, herbs, wild berries and a touch of eucalypt on the nose. Nothing too complicated here, just a well-crafted red with defined fruit and soft spice at a good price.

Tarantella Morso d’Amor Merlot 2008

Reviewed by: Sean Wood
Editor Rating: Very Good
$19
Tarantino IGT, Italy

Review Summary:
Richly plum scented, with spicy and green herbal notes and bold, ripe flavours. Full-bodied, with solid structure, good overall balance, well integrated fruit, spice and a little dark chocolate on the finish. A solid example of new wave Puglia quality.

Beringer Merlot Bancroft Howell Mountain 2005

Reviewed by: Evan Saviolidis
Editor Rating: Excellent
$70
Napa Valley, USA

Review Summary:
This wine is a sexy winner! Full-bodied, the bouquet of plums, dark cherries, cocoa, earth and coffee also unfurl on the rich, glycerine-laden palate. With no harsh edges and superb length, this wine will age gracefully over the next 5 to 8 years. Make sure to grab a couple of bottles for the cellar.

Township 7 Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

Reviewed by: Harry Hertscheg
Editor Rating: Very Good
$20
Okanagan, Canada

Review Summary:
The Merlot (75%) lends fragrant aromatics and lush fruitiness, while the Cab Sauv (25%) contributes intense blackcurrant and firm tannins. Tame its oaky spicy-smokiness with grilled meats.

Fort Berens Meritage 2011

Reviewed by: Harry Hertscheg
Editor Rating: Very Good
$28
British Columbia, Canada

Review Summary:
It’s a blend on several fronts: Merlot/Cab Sauv/Cab Franc grapes, estate Lillooet and Black Sage Bench fruit and French/American oak aging. It results in smoky scents enhanced by mocha and dark berry. Bright acidity, spicy red fruit flavours and soft tannins lead to a taut finish. Try with stir-fry.

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