The Finest Merlot: The West Coast and Bordeaux

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  • By Amy Mullally
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The Finest Merlot:  The West Coast and Bordeaux

Merlot: plush and seductive, nuanced spice, plums, mixed forest berry, sage, bay leaf, greens, tobacco, leather, cocoa, espresso, and vanilla. These are a few of the alluring flavor notes that come from one of our noblest grapes. With origins in the Libourne on the right bank of the Dordogne River in Bordeaux, Merlot has also excelled in Columbia Valley, Washington and Napa Valley, CA. When treated properly in the vineyard and in the winery, Merlot can be ethereal. So what happened?

Where did all the good Merlot go? Short answer is nowhere, it’s been right here all along. The most dedicated houses both in France and here on the west coast are still producing Merlot masterpieces. The longer, more complicated answer is that Merlot became overplanted and overproduced because of its’ popularity. The result was a lot of thin, flabby, and boring Merlot. Then a little cult film called Sideways hit the scene and caught on like wildfire. Paul Giamatti’s character trash-talking Merlot was the final nail in the coffin.


That was 2004. Here we are rounding the corner into 2017! And just as trends go, they certainly come back. The canaries (Sommeliers and journalists in the industry) can’t stop tweeting about their excitement for and the quality of Merlot these days. Most of the Merlot vines that were planted as an afterthought in the wrong places have been ripped out. There is a limited amount produced, the viticulture and winemaking is dialed in tight, and the prices are very low. Merlot may be one of the single greatest buys on the red wine market today.


I am so excited about this seminar as we’re going to get a chance to open a couple of elegantly expressive Bordeaux Merlots that will set the stage. These are the wines that inspire all the others. What a rare treat, indeed. On our side of the pond, I am going to open some of the finest Merlots from our most storied houses. I was also able to acquire a bit of the Seattle Times’ ‘Best Merlot of 2016’, made by famous French winemaker, Michel Rolland. Join me Friday, January 13th, at 7:30pm to re-acquaint yourself with this seductive grape, and fall in love again with Merlot. We will be tasting:


2011 Chateau Certan, Pomerol $109.99

2011 Chateau Hosanna, Pomerol $159.99

2012 Chateau Teyssier, Saint Emilion Grand Cru $31.99

2012 Chateau La Croix Bellevue, LaLande-De-Pomerol $28.99

2013 Pahlmeyer, Napa Valley $81.99

2013 Pedestal, (“Best Merlot” -Seattle Times!) Columbia Valley, WA $59.99

2013 Duckhorn, Three Palms, Napa Valley $94.99

2013 Shafer, Napa Valley $57.99

2012 Young Inglewood, Right Bank Blend, Napa Valley $71.99

2013 Swanson, Napa Valley $28.99


Reserve your spot today! 1/13/17, 7:30pm, $50.00/person


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