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Jim Grow

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WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Jim Grow » Tue Dec 05, 2017 10:18 pm

Other than Petrus of course. 2009 Plumpjack Merlot; still very primary with lots of plum and a bit of cassis fruit, very dark purple, tannins have mostly been resolved; may become more complex with 5-10 years ahead due to fine balance but I have no real assurance of this. Given their reputation and location I was thinking this wine may now be very interesting but not yet. Who else throughout the world might be in contention for best Merlot given the previous exception? Maybe Duckhorn? Wash.?
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Bob Parsons Alberta » Wed Dec 06, 2017 10:33 am

Never in my plan to buy but did enjoy at a recent tasting the 2012 Seven Falls Merlot Wahluke Slope from Washington for $24 Cdn.
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Tim York

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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Tim York » Wed Dec 06, 2017 11:04 am

I guess that, in order to make those nominations, you stipulate 100% Merlot. Otherwise I would have very many nominations from right-bank Bordeaux for wines with 50%+ Merlot :wink:.

I recall a 100% Frescobaldi Merlot called Lamaione hailing from Montalcino whose 1995 I thought very fine in 2007, avoiding the flabbiness and jamminess of most 100% Merlot which has come my way, Pétrus always excepted. I don't know if this wine is still produced.
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Brian K Miller

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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Brian K Miller » Wed Dec 06, 2017 1:00 pm

I like the Robert Sinskey Merlot and Merlot-blend (POV) quite a bit. May be up their on my list.

There was also a few years ago a nice Merlot made by AHNFELDT from Coombsville and Silverado Country Club area fruit.
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JC (NC)

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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by JC (NC) » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:47 pm

My vote for the best domestic Merlot goes to Shafer.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Robin Garr » Wed Dec 20, 2017 12:50 pm

Tim York wrote:I guess that, in order to make those nominations, you stipulate 100% Merlot. Otherwise I would have very many nominations from right-bank Bordeaux for wines with 50%+ Merlot :wink:.

I've always argued, Tim, that Bordeaux uses Merlot as a blending grape rather than full-varietal for good reason. ;)
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by David M. Bueker » Wed Dec 20, 2017 1:30 pm

The Matthiasson ‘Red Hen’ Vineyard Merlot is 100% Merlot and outstanding. I would put it up against anything else out there.

To steal from TH, it’s “world class” Merlot.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Jim Cassidy » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:02 am

I have not tried enough Merlots to have an opinion about the best one, but a bottle of Ridge Estate Merlot was the best wine I drank in 2016.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Jenise » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:31 pm

Robin Garr wrote:I've always argued, Tim, that Bordeaux uses Merlot as a blending grape rather than full-varietal for good reason. ;)


Then you haven't had enough merlot, Miles. :)

There are a lot of outstanding merlots out there. I've always loved them from Napa's Three Palms Vineyards, and here in Washington it's an exceptional product even though a lot of heritage vineyards got pulled out after Sideways turned Merlot into an undeserved joke based not on knowledgeable opinions about high quality grapes and expert winemaking but instead on general ignorance of same and cheap bar wine.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Robin Garr » Thu Dec 21, 2017 2:31 pm

Jenise wrote:
Robin Garr wrote:I've always argued, Tim, that Bordeaux uses Merlot as a blending grape rather than full-varietal for good reason. ;)


Then you haven't had enough merlot, Miles. :)

:lol: :lol: :lol:
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Dale Williams » Thu Dec 21, 2017 4:19 pm

I'd call Merlot any wine that would qualify in CA for the word (85%, right?). Even in CA there's usually a bit of blending.

Petrus is sometimes all Merlot, always at least 95%. Trotanoy is usually 90+%, and L'Evangile between 85 and 90% and are among my favorite wines. I think Le Pin is 100%, but I've never tasted one. :(

Most St Emilions have considerable amount of CF (and some CS), but Magdelaine is usually at least 90% Merlot, and can be truly great (or could, RIP).

In Italy Massetto is delicious if you can afford it. The Falesco Montiano is 100% and tasty in a modern style at much more modest price.

In CA my favorite is probably Mayacamas. I also have some Beringer Bancrofts from late 80s and early 90s that I enjoy, and had some early 70s Sterlings still holding up lately.

I've never had a Matthiason Merlot, but would love to try. Had my first Ridge recently (2013 vintage), very good.

Now for worst, how about Pride? Actually I'm sure well made, just truly not my style.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Jenise » Thu Dec 21, 2017 5:28 pm

Dale Williams wrote:I'd call Merlot any wine that would qualify in CA for the word (85%, right?). Even in CA there's usually a bit of blending.

Petrus is sometimes all Merlot, always at least 95%. Trotanoy is usually 90+%, and L'Evangile between 85 and 90% and are among my favorite wines. I think Le Pin is 100%, but I've never tasted one. :(

Most St Emilions have considerable amount of CF (and some CS), but Magdelaine is usually at least 90% Merlot, and can be truly great (or could, RIP).

In Italy Massetto is delicious if you can afford it. The Falesco Montiano is 100% and tasty in a modern style at much more modest price.

In CA my favorite is probably Mayacamas. I also have some Beringer Bancrofts from late 80s and early 90s that I enjoy, and had some early 70s Sterlings still holding up lately.

I've never had a Matthiason Merlot, but would love to try. Had my first Ridge recently (2013 vintage), very good.

Now for worst, how about Pride? Actually I'm sure well made, just truly not my style.


75%. But I don't disagree with your point. Had a stunnng '93 Ridge Estate Merlot recently that had been passively stored all it's life! Obviously there would be better bottles but it was nonetheless a marvel.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Bill Spohn » Fri Dec 22, 2017 5:58 pm

Until fairly recently, Petrus was not 100% Merlot, so you have to decide whether you are asking for best 100% merlot wines, or best 80% (Petrus in the 50s/60s), or best 90% (Petrus until the turn of the century) or 95% (Petrus some time between 200 and when they finally did go to all merlot). So all Petrus that is in bottle and mature enough to be drinking was at least 10% cab franc.

That aside, I agree that there are many worthy Merlots just on the right bank Bordeaux area. Are we talking about them, or what? Need the ground rules to be clear.
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by David M. Bueker » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:14 pm

Rules? We don’t need rules.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Jenise » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:21 pm

Bill Spohn wrote:That aside, I agree that there are many worthy Merlots just on the right bank Bordeaux area. Are we talking about them, or what? Need the ground rules to be clear.


The original question was: "Who else throughout the world might be in contention for best Merlot given the previous exception (Petrus)?"

So world's your oyster.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Bill Spohn » Fri Dec 22, 2017 7:47 pm

Jenise wrote:
Bill Spohn wrote:That aside, I agree that there are many worthy Merlots just on the right bank Bordeaux area. Are we talking about them, or what? Need the ground rules to be clear.


The original question was: "Who else throughout the world might be in contention for best Merlot given the previous exception (Petrus)?"

So world's your oyster.


So how much merlot does there have to be in a wine for it to be nominated? 100%? 50%? 5%?
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David M. Bueker

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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by David M. Bueker » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:01 pm

Let’s say 75%, since that is the rule for labeling as the variety in California.
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Bill Spohn » Fri Dec 22, 2017 10:23 pm

David M. Bueker wrote:Let’s say 75%, since that is the rule for labeling as the variety in California.


OK, I'll buy that.

I'll put up:

La Mondotte
Trotanoy
Le Bon Pasteur
Falesco Montiano
Pahlmeyer
Nenin in select vintages
Tua Rita
Castello di Ama
Masseto

Might be off on the 75% on some but I'm sure someone will let me know......
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Peter May

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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by Peter May » Sat Dec 23, 2017 8:44 am

There are so many varieties to choose from, and Merlot is not top of my list when looking for a single variety wine, but I bought and have have really enjoyed some bottles of

2014 Peirano Estate Vineyards Merlot The Heritage Collection "Six Clones".

see http://www.peirano.com/peirano-estate-w ... l?bpid=172

We drink a lot of claret, much of it Merlot dominated, but I don't consider that a blend counts, and certainly not one with just 75% of the variety.

Admitting here them admits that Merlot is best as a blending grape. ( :) and takes cover)
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Re: WTN: Who makes the best Merlot?

by David M. Bueker » Sat Dec 23, 2017 11:22 pm

If Cabernet Sauvignon was held to the same standards as Merlot...

I am not a huge Merlot drinker by any stretch, but it sure takes a beating from people.
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