America's Best Merlot

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M. Dildine
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America's Best Merlot

#101 Post by M. Dildine » March 3rd, 2015, 12:17 pm

Chuck Turack wrote:
ncostanzo1 wrote:Any thoughts on A. Rafanelli's Merlot? They seem to put out only a little bit and I am thinking of grabbing a few bottles sometime this month.

I've had the Ridge Merlot while picking up club shipment, wasn't overly impressed but perhaps it needs more time (I believe/recall the current release is the Torre '12)
A. Rafanelli's Merlot is awesome! Other than the Terrace Select Cab, it's their best wine. I highly recommend picking some up. It is limited though. Not listed on their mailer and you can generally only buy a few when you visit, but ask for more, they just might let you buy them! I have bottles going back to 07 and they get better every time I open one.

I rate the Rafanelli as my favorite Merlot in the US. I was their in December and they are sold out because they did not make an 11 Merlot...low quality grapes...and the 12 will be released in May.

I also love Ridge Estate Merlot. The 09 and 10 were high quality. The 11, which is available locally in Chicago is on the shelf now... is a step down.
Good call. A Raf's Merlot is very good indeed. I'll be picking up a few bottles later this month.
Cheers,

Mike

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America's Best Merlot

#102 Post by Mike Evans » March 3rd, 2015, 12:31 pm

I'm not going to go so far as to call it America's best Merlot, but the 2010 Korbin Kameron tasted last night was delightful, pure black and red fruit with a bit of minerality and a hint of greenness that added to the savoriness, all supported by good tannic and acidic structure. It reminded me more of an old style Right Bank wine than the sweet vanilla fruit bombs that have become too common in Merlot from both the US and Bordeaux.

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Scott E. Wade
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America's Best Merlot

#103 Post by Scott E. Wade » March 3rd, 2015, 12:51 pm

I checked my notes on U. S. merlot in CT. The best one I've had was my most recent, which in part inspired this thread.

2009 Shafer Merlot. Inky, deep purple. There is a huge draw of cassis and blackberry compote aromas. The gestalt nods to cabernet. This offers an interesting palate of black cherry, licorice and liquid smoke with an oak spice contrail. Rich, saturating and caressing. No quit in the glorious finish. 94 Purchased for $46.

Everyone loved this wine. Served on it's own after a home made pasta puttanesca dinner. The dinner wine was a 2010 Bedrock Heirloom Cab Sauvignon.

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America's Best Merlot

#104 Post by rick m » March 3rd, 2015, 2:16 pm

my list for calif merlot

paloma
pride mt top and regular
phalmeyer with green labels
kapscandy
matanzas creek (older vintage)
duckhorn 3 palm (older vintage)
switchback ridge
ITB
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#105 Post by GZar » November 5th, 2018, 1:33 pm

In a rare move to complement a perfectly grilled strip steak on a brisk autumn evening, I decided to pull one of the (very) few Merlot's in the cellar, a 1997 Plumpjack Rutherford Merlot.

I was surprised how well this was drinking, and frankly I forgot how lovely a well crafted merlot can be...

I likely picked this up for sub $50 a while back which led me to wonder if you all had any quality/aged/value Merlot's as of late?
G. Zarn

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J.Vizuete
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#106 Post by J.Vizuete » November 5th, 2018, 1:52 pm

Larkmead Firebelle is awesome and has the stuffing for many years of aging
Carter Hossfeld Coliseum is a cherry fruit blast but very good young
For value, Mt Brave is an great buy with high quality fruit
Had an 07 Pahlmeyer recently which came across a little roasted at this point.
An 01 Blankiet Merlot Paradise Hills showed pretty well last month
And Shafer (mentioned north in the thread) no longer produces a merlot, but a high % of it goes into the TD-9 blend...
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Brandon R
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#107 Post by Brandon R » November 5th, 2018, 1:55 pm

Nice pull.

Back in July of this year, I had a 2012 Coho Michael Black Vineyard Merlot that was really nice. That's not really aged, but it was very good.

In mid-2016, I also had a surprisingly good 2003 Merlot from Leonetti up here in Washington. It had aged well and taken on some nice complexity. Not bad for a 13-year-old Merlot from Washington.
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#108 Post by Jeff Rosenberg » November 5th, 2018, 1:56 pm

Not aged but quit nice for $20 was a 2014 Mondavi Napa Valley that we drank last week.

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#109 Post by Rob Weaver » November 5th, 2018, 1:58 pm

Some really good recommendations here. Surprisingly, not because I know it to be good, but rather the winery is so well regarded and they seem to be killing it with everything, I haven't seen Realm Tempest.

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#110 Post by Gary Schulte » November 5th, 2018, 2:04 pm

There has been, and I suspect there still are, some pretty nicely made Long Island merlots that are complex and balanced with their alcohol. In my wine storage there are some 1997 Palmer Vineyards Estate Merlots still perking along. Last time I had this wine a few years back it was still nearing it's peak. The intention is to open one up this Wednesday. I can only hope it's as good as I remember it.

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#111 Post by Steve Eisenhauer » November 5th, 2018, 2:38 pm

Peter Hirdt wrote:
February 26th, 2015, 10:19 am
IMO the best of the Long Island merlots—and there are several very good ones, including Paumanok Tuthill's Lane—is the Old Vines merlot made only in select vintages by Lenz. The most recent vintage is 2007, which reflects not only winemaker Eric Fry's high standards for this wine but also the length of time it is aged before he deems it ready for consumption. The last vintage prior to 2007 was 2002.
I'm totally on board with this. Lenz has been making excellent merlot since the early 1980s at least.
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#112 Post by Kris Patten » November 5th, 2018, 7:41 pm

Pedestal from WA
Shafer and Pahlmeyer Merlot from CA

Going back to 90s Beringer Bancroft was a great bottle.
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#113 Post by Dennis Borczon » November 6th, 2018, 4:03 am

Kris Patten wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 7:41 pm
Pedestal from WA
Shafer and Pahlmeyer Merlot from CA

Going back to 90s Beringer Bancroft was a great bottle.

I will second this. Drank a Bancroft Ranch 1995 last year and it was absolutely spectacular. Wish I had bought a case. On a conservative point scale was a 99 wine. Amazing that this particular wine was probably good for another 10+ years. Who knew Cali Merlot could age so well? Most of the more recent fruit bombs would never make to 20 year mark I am afraid. Tried a couple of 90's "orgasm in a bottle" Parker Pahlmeyers at age 10. They really fell apart and the alcohol showed through like a, well, like a older woman wearing a gossamer dress.

I know, go ahead and pileon

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#114 Post by Jim Stewart » November 6th, 2018, 4:22 am

stewart merlot wine.jpg
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#115 Post by Jim Stewart » November 6th, 2018, 4:30 am

Dennis Borczon wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 4:03 am
Kris Patten wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 7:41 pm
Pedestal from WA
Shafer and Pahlmeyer Merlot from CA

Going back to 90s Beringer Bancroft was a great bottle.

I will second this. Drank a Bancroft Ranch 1995 last year and it was absolutely spectacular. Wish I had bought a case. On a conservative point scale was a 99 wine. Amazing that this particular wine was probably good for another 10+ years. Who knew Cali Merlot could age so well? Most of the more recent fruit bombs would never make to 20 year mark I am afraid. Tried a couple of 90's "orgasm in a bottle" Parker Pahlmeyers at age 10. They really fell apart and the alcohol showed through like a, well, like a older woman wearing a gossamer dress.

I know, go ahead and pileon
bad and brilliant !
Age merely shows what children we remain.
-Goethe

But I've just noticed that my mind is asleep.
-Rimbaud

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#116 Post by GZar » November 6th, 2018, 7:22 am

Thanks for the 90s Beringer Bancroft tip....I'll keep my eye out.
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#117 Post by Kelly Flynn » November 6th, 2018, 8:54 am

I had a 95 Duckhorn "Howell Mtn" merlot (from mag) recently that rocked my world.

Haven't enjoyed a Shafer merlot in a while, but, if memory serves, always delicious.

For those looking for a little more, umm, extraction, Quilceda Creek is a whopper.

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#118 Post by Thomas Keim » November 6th, 2018, 10:43 am

Outside of the usual Napa Valley suspects (Pride, Duckhorn etc), I really like JANUIK in Washington State - recent vintages have just been marvelous - and somewhat affordable -
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#119 Post by Jim Stewart » November 6th, 2018, 10:56 am

Kirk.Grant wrote:
February 26th, 2015, 4:38 pm
I like Italian Merlot...not-so-much the ones made in the US
Hi Kirk, Italian Merlot??? Can you provide some examples that you like. . . Thanks, -Jim
Age merely shows what children we remain.
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But I've just noticed that my mind is asleep.
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#120 Post by Scott E. Wade » November 6th, 2018, 11:00 am

The 2017 Wine Spectator Wine of the year was the 2014 Duckhorn Merlot Napa Valley Three Palms.

I recall the 2001 Paloma Merlot won too.

I'm still enjoying Plumpjack Merlot (their Syrah is really good too, but that's another thread - hint, hint). I bought the 2015 Shafer TD-9 blend, but I haven't tried it yet.

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#121 Post by Steve Eisenhauer » November 6th, 2018, 1:34 pm

I've been hanging onto a 1992 magnum of Bancroft Ranch. I should drink it.

Janiuk is a good choice in the "bargain" segment, or at least it used to be.
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Re: America's Best Merlot

#122 Post by Kirk.Grant » November 6th, 2018, 2:24 pm

Jim Stewart wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 10:56 am
Kirk.Grant wrote:
February 26th, 2015, 4:38 pm
I like Italian Merlot...not-so-much the ones made in the US
Hi Kirk, Italian Merlot??? Can you provide some examples that you like. . . Thanks, -Jim
I like the following wines:
Casa Emma Soloio - I like this producer from pretty much everything I've had. Their 100% Merlot is expensive in the US by standards in country...but still a wine I like more than say Galatrona and much less in price. I think it's about $39 in the US
San Giusto a Rentennano La Ricolma - First class...and the price tag reflects that.
Montechari Montecarlo - We found this in Lucca, it's local and not too expensive, but I don't think you'll find it unless you're in Tuscany (and looking for it).
Castello di Bossi Girolamo - I got these for $35 and feel like it was a total steal.
Rampa di Fugnano Gisele - This is from around San Gimignano, and they're one of the few wineries that charge to taste. Yet, I find this to be a real special wine at around $30.
Fattoria Rodáno Bazzicante - This is just plain hard to find...in Italy, and in the US. I haven't had one since the '97 vintage about 10 years ago...but it's amazing and they do make it...it just seems to sell fast.
Cellartracker:Kirk Grant

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#123 Post by Kris Patten » November 6th, 2018, 7:54 pm

Jim Stewart wrote:
November 6th, 2018, 10:56 am
Kirk.Grant wrote:
February 26th, 2015, 4:38 pm
I like Italian Merlot...not-so-much the ones made in the US
Hi Kirk, Italian Merlot??? Can you provide some examples that you like. . . Thanks, -Jim
On the higher end, not quite Massetto, Petrolo Galatrona is really classy.
ITB

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Re: America's Best Merlot

#124 Post by Oliver V » November 7th, 2018, 1:25 pm

I second North Star.
GZar wrote:
November 5th, 2018, 1:33 pm
In a rare move to complement a perfectly grilled strip steak on a brisk autumn evening, I decided to pull one of the (very) few Merlot's in the cellar, a 1997 Plumpjack Rutherford Merlot.

I was surprised how well this was drinking, and frankly I forgot how lovely a well crafted merlot can be...

I likely picked this up for sub $50 a while back which led me to wonder if you all had any quality/aged/value Merlot's as of late?
I got an absurd deal at auction a while back- a bunch of 1997 Harrison Merlot (confusingly called "Millenium Reserve", despite the year) for about $32 a bottle. A fabulous wine, drinking wonderfully at the moment, with plenty of life yet. Definitely one of my biggest surprises. Got some '97 Schafers in the same auction, and the Harrison was better by miles.
Oliver Vargas

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