America's Best Merlot

I like merlot. There, I’ve said it. I like steak too and I’ve found it pairs incredibly well with filet mignon. Nothing has made me happier than Miles depopularizing (I just made up a word) it in Sideways. I get it, sometimes you can get a pukey (just made up another one) aftertaste from the shabby ones. It’s made some really good wine affordable. I’m a sucker for mouth feel and it often delivers a smoothness I enjoy.

They make some good ones in California and Washington. The ones I’ve enjoyed the most tend to be a cabernet sauvignon lovers version. I’ve enjoyed Paloma, Pride and Plumpjack. I’ve heard Pahlmeyer is really good too, but I haven’t tried one. Setting aside the letter P, Shafer is my favorite. Duckhorn can be really good too.

Who makes the best merlot in America? What are your favorites?

No reason you should be reluctant to admit this; some of the greatest wines in the world are all or mostly merlot.

I can’t play the “best domestic merlot” game, but will be interested to see what folks come up with.

Kapcsandy Roberta’s Reserve
Blankiet Rive Droite

The only California merlot I own is Calluna. Not sure if its the best but its the only one that I found I like enough to buy in quantity.

I don’t really have an answer but I did have a Long Island blend (tasted blind) a few weeks ago that was mostly merlot and it was very good. I’m not saying it was the best but definitely a more restrained style than what is being made in the US today and possibly something to look forward to in the future.

My personal favorite is the Long Shadows’ Pedestal (Washington).

Switchback Ridge’s is a favorite amongst my wine friends, but a mocha-on-the-mid-palate-flavored bridge too far for me.

Keenan Merlot drinks more like a Cabernet.

Seavey makes an excellent merlot in a style consistent with their cabs.

I’m biased but I think Washington makes the best Merlot outside of France (it also makes some of the worst). You can pick up older Leonetti bottles at auction for $40-$60 that are an excellent value, (some on winebid right now). I’ve had good luck at auction possibly because the person that buys these at release might also be a person with proper storage, but obviously caveat emptor.

In my experience, Leonetti Merlot peaks at 15-20 years and still need a couple hours of air before really strutting. Seek out 1999.

Roast pork is another great pairing.

I just re-read your post and maybe Leonetti isn’t the right rec. given your preferences. You might seek out Andrew Will, Owen Roe, Fielding Hills, and even the odd Ch. St. Michelle, believe it or not.

I had what I believe was a 1996 Owen Roe Merlot two years ago that absolutely smashing.

It’s been my longstanding belief that (for whatever reason) California can’t compete with French Merlot. But then I always thought that about Chardonnay and now I’m not so sure.

My great white California Merlot hope at the moment is Matthiasson “Red Hen.”

Not sure what you guys are tasting, but it always seems to be the most forgettable wine I taste.

Kapcsandy Roberta’s Reserve, and it’s not even close.

Multiple 98-99 point scores from Parker and Galloni for various vintages, and last year even the stingy Tanzer gave the 2012 Robertas Reserve 99 points. Show me another Merlot based wine anywhere in the world that gets such high praise from the “professional” critics. Maybe Masseto comes close.

Paul, there is a lot of good merlot and value in Washington. I’ve really enjoyed some wines from Waterbrook, Novelty Hill and Northstar.

Now that I think about it I was really impressed by the Tua Rita Redigaffi. Now if it was 20% of the actual price I might be able to get behind it.

That’s your problem, Gary. You’re drinking Italian merlot! I haven’t been much impressed with the ones I have had either

I’d drink the Redegaffi too if it wasn’t for the price. There are a great many very fine merlots from elsewhere that won’t crush the budget

If you like Paloma, Pride, and Plumpjack, which I do as well, you should check out Buccella and Anthem.

It seems every time I taste/drink one I like it is three digits.

Mike are you feeling ok? neener

I like Shafer. A recent Ridge I had was pretty good too. More so on day two.