One of the six Bordeaux grapes, Merlot is a dark skinned grape and one of the most popular red wine varietals. While most famous for its production in Bordeaux, Merlot is also widely grown in California, specifically Napa Valley, Sonoma, and the Central Coast, along with South America. Merlot grows in loose clusters of larger berries and has a medium tannin structure. Merlot has a naturally high sugar content and low acidity. Merlot grapes need to struggle to maintain their acidity and grow best in well-draining clay soil. Because of its thin skins, Merlot is susceptible to mildew, rot, and frost.
The flavor of Merlot depends greatly on where it was grown and the preference and style of the winemaker. When planted in a cold climate, Merlot has flavors of strawberry, and plum with hints of tobacco. When grown in a moderate climate, Merlot has bold flavors of blackberry, black cherry, and plum. When cultivated in a hot climate, flavors of dried fruit, chocolate and plum are more prominent.
When the fruit is harvested early, the wines have more acid and are produced with a more moderate alcohol level. The wine will have lighter fruit flavors such as raspberries and strawberries with a sometimes herbal characteristic. When the fruit is harvested late, the wine will be higher in alcohol content and very full bodied with deep rich flavors of blackberries, plums, and cherries.
Second Highest Rated Merlot By Wine Spectator In 2010
Anthem's inaugural vintage of Merlot is a Cab-lover's Merlot, and is an incredibly deep, intense wine. The 2010 Merlot's aromatics are dominated by plumbs, black berries, charcoal and dark chocolate. On the palate, there are red fruits (raspberries, red cherries) as well as melted fudge, roasted meats and licorice that tail off into a smooth and amazingly long finish. Although it is hard to imagine a better Merlot, this wine will age and improve beautifully for at least another 5-7 years and pairs well with any pasta or meat dish. Grown on Mount Veeder. Drink now through 2019.
"Smooth and elegant with red fruit notes of dried cranberry, raspberry, and strawberry jam. Framing the mouthwatering fruit are toasty oak notes of chocolate and caramel. This compelling and nuanced wine has great balance now and is sure to please for years to come." Leigh Meyering, winemaker (January, 2014)
2012 Chateau Lane Merlot
This unique and sophisticated European style Merlot has a big nose of bay leaf and mint that carries over red cherry cola and dark cassis. Beautiful hints of black licorice and leather on the back end. Its mouth feel is round and voluptuous, full of red fruits and soft, firm tannins.
18 Months in 100% French Oak, 60% New Barrels
TA: 0.60 ; PH: 3.67 ; Alc: 14.5% ; RS: 0.2g/100ml ; MAL: 0.25g/100ml
Any who dare discount the noble Merlot, need not drink here! We love Merlot for its finesse, its mystery, its grace and power. We love the Truchard vineyard where these grapes are grown. This sweet spot, resting on a south facing hillside hidden far away from the road and passers-by provides just the sort of cool evenings and long, warm days that Merlot favors. Soft, sweet, juicy aromas of blueberry, pepper and fig bound from the glass making way for soft black cherry, tobacco leaf and cola on the palate. The ecstasy of its long, complicated finish calls for a dreamy, dramatic aria - Caro Mio Ben perhaps? - and if you can play it on vinyl, even better.
The grapes for the 2012 Counter Punch Merlot were hand-harvested on September 28, 2012 from the Los Carneros AVA of Napa Valley at 24.0 Brix. "Classic" and "Perfect" are just two accolades being bestowed upon the 2012 Napa Valley growing season and harvest. Textbook conditions saw near-ideal spring bud break, steady flowering, even fruit set, and a lengthy stretch of warm days and cool and often foggy nights during the long summer months. Late and light rains held off until the grapes found optimal ripeness, bringing exceptional quality to the crush pad and into the cellar.
The fruit arrived at the winery in small 1/2 ton bins where destemming and hand-sorting occurred. Fermentation proceeded in a small bin for eight days. The free-run was transferred directly into neutral barrels for settling. After settling, the young wine was racked from the neutral barrels into new American oak barrels (from trees grown in Minnesota) where it aged for an additional year. The wine was polish filtered and bottled in April 2014.