In the past, if you’d ask for me to describe a California Merlot… I’d say it’s like Cabernet Sauvignon’s sensitive, high-maintenance, middle-sister who is still dealing with a “questionable reputation” from some risqué behavior that happened back in the ’80s and ’90s.
The good news is that is definitely not the case now. Merlots coming out of California have since made some HUGE strides in redemption.
In fact, I've found one that will restore any scars or hesitations if you are still dealing with them. (Like I was…)
Rutherford Hill Merlot (2015) from Napa Valley
This award-winning Merlot is definitely a showstopper. As indicated on the label, it’s primarily made from the Merlot varietal, however, the winemaker adds a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah for a little extra tannin “oomph”! This wine comes from the Rutherford appellation in Napa Valley, which was specially selected to be the pioneer region to first grow Merlot in the New World back in 1972 as the climate and soil conditions mimic the same in Pomerol, France. (BTW: Pomerol, France is a Bordeaux wine region that produces some of the best Merlots on the planet.)
My Tasting Notes:
Color: It's got a medium garnet-purple hue.
Dominant Flavors: Intense dark fruit flavors of cherries and blackberries. I get some earthiness and baking spice notes as well.
Taste Profile: Full-bodied with an incredibly smooth texture. (This wine is rich in the tannin department too!)