Category Archives: Merlot

2002 Tenuta dell Ornellaia Messeto

Dark garnet color. On the nose, developed, medium+ intensity, figs and black currants, bittersweet chocolate, chalky earth, tobacco, layered, complex beyond expression, with lots of earth and a nice oak component. On the palate, dry, seamless, medium+ body, medium tannin, medium acidity, serious balance, serious beauty, with ridiculous depth, and complexity that made me wish I made enough money to enjoy treats like this all the time!

1997 Andrew Will Klipsun Vineyard Merlot

This was a real treat that the Sommelier brought out the other night at a Earshot Jazz Festival show at the Triple Door. Ruby color. On the nose, developed, medium+ intensity, sour cherry fruit, loaded with spices, bark, cedar, anise, layered, with moderate oak, and a distinct chalky earth component. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, leather, cherry, fig, tea, cocoa, medium tannin, medium+ acidity, with beautiful balance, and a long spice filled finish. This wine kicked serious butt.

1998 Duckhorn Merlot Napa Valley

This was poured from magnum. Brownish ruby color. On the nose, developed, medium+ intensity, cedar, bell pepper, tobacco, dill, leather, spice, with bits of plum and cherry tucked in the back, some oak, and some earth. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, medium tannin, medium acidity, nice balance, and very good structure still. This drinks like a Bordeaux, with lots of mineral and a solid finish.

2007 Leonetti Cellars Merlot Walla Walla

A guest brought this in and I had many mixed feelings. First, it’s considered taboo to bring a wine to a restaurant that they have on they menu, many restaurants won’t even let you. Second, it’s an over-priced, over-valued status symbol of a wine that a lot of urban hillbillies think they’re cool just for having a few bottle in the cellar. Third, this wine reminds me how we are such sheep and label-whores by nature, and the second someone makes something exclusive, we fawn over it. Fourth, this wine has blown chunks the last few times I’ve tried it and thought many other Merlot’s half the price kicked the pants off it. Fifth, they denied me a tour at the winery because I’m not on the list, even though I represent their wines on our menu. That being said, this wine was pretty good. Bright purple color. On the nose, youthful, with big cherry and chocolate flavors, leather, fig, bark, not any earth to speak to, and certain oak. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, medium tannins, nice balance, and good length to the finish. Most people drink this wine before it’s ready, maybe that’s what I’m fired up about, it’s hard to debate the goodness of a wine that’s the United Colors of Benetton of the wine world.    

2005 Five Star Merlot Walla Walla Valley

Had this one from a magnum over at Menno’s place. I love this winery and have always considered this Merlot to be top 5 in the state. We’re still having trouble setting up the top 5 blind tasting to crown the champion. Ruby color. On the nose, youthful, medium+ intensity, black cherry, black raspberry, chocolate, lots of flowers and perfume, bark, some oak, and not really any earth to speak to. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, medium acidity, very well balanced, pure dark fruit and flowers, un-mistakable as WA Merlot, pretty and elegant, with good length to the finish. Not the candy bar of more recent vintages but amazing wine.    

2007 L’Ecole No 41 Merlot Columbia Valley

Purple to garnet in color. On the nose, youthful, medium+ intensity, cherries, plums, cedar, cocoa, pretty flowery component, with no earth to speak to, and nicely balanced oak. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, medium tannins, medium acidity, rich and velvety texture, opulent dark fruit, layered spices, with good length to the finish. Very good quality for the dollar.    

2006 Januik Merlot Columbia Valley

Made by one of the most deft hands in the state, Mike Januik. Purple ruby color. On the nose, youthful, medium+ intensity, plum, cherries, leather, cedar, cocoa, some oak, no earth to speak to, but an overall polish that is quite pleasant. On the palate, dry, medium intensity, medium tannin, medium acidity, good ripe black fruit, lots of cedar, and immense spice on the finish.    

2003 Apex Merlot Yakima Valley

Nice garnet color with brown edges. On the nose, developed, medium+ intensity, fig, cherry, plum, cedar, bitter sweet chocolate, leather, bark, not earthy or oaky, but loaded with layers. On the palate, dry, medium+ intensity, medium tannin, medium acidity, beautiful fig and cherry fruit leather, layered with spice and cedar, great balance, with an above average finish. I couldn’t help but think how much I wanted some of this for my cellar.