Skip to main content

Wine of the Week: Napa Cellars 2009 Merlot

"An ignorance of means may minister to greatness, but an ignorance of aims makes it impossible to be great at all." ~ Elizabeth Barrett Browning

That is a great quote; speaking philosophically, one that should encourage us all to sing the song we all have within our souls; if we only have the courage to let it out. Okay, now stepping down off the proverbial soap box; it's time once again to shine a big-bright spot-light on the wine-of-the-week. I know, I have not been a great promoter of Merlot's from California [and for good reason], but between this Merlot from Napa Cellars and one of my other recent wine of weeks reviews, perhaps that idea is turning around a bit for me.

Merlot has got a bad rap in recent memory; even though it’s known for creating some of the world’s most sought-after wines. It’s easy to say and has an easy-drinking style; it’s a great blending grape, and known for producing some very age-worthy "collectibles" from places like St.-Émilion, France [need I say more].

Let’s face it, we all know Merlot is one of the "classic" grapes and for many vino-sapiens and even the occasional wandering wino, Washington State's Columbia Valley has been dominating the Merlot market [at least I think so]. But perhaps with two fine examples like the one today from Napa Cellars and the other from Waterstone, perhaps that ship is turning around. Those are two isolated examples; but it's a step in the right direction.

This wine is even more affordable than other one I reviewed a week ago, it's a staple of America's largest wine retailer, a wine that can be found at your local neighborhood Costco. It's selling for just a few dollars south of the $22 SRP and will wow you every step of the way, from the first pour to the last drop. In an era of you get what you pay for; this wine in the show-off bottle over-delivers for its price point.

This folks is a great value; one you should stock up on, what I would call "every-day" drinker. It's easy on the eyes and on the wallet. In the glass there's a shiny ruby colored core, escaping easily from the glass, notes of dried dark fruits, under brush and a expressive basket of ripe cherries. After the first splash down, a dump-truck full of surprisingly complex flavors of deep red cherry and bright red-vine licorice, tucked in dried tobacco leafs waiting to be rolled and lavender lying on the back porch. The thing you want most from Merlot; a soft mouth-feel [silky tannins], dancing black plum flavors attempt to sink that put on the 9th hole, while dark coffee, bbq smoke and earth give a quiet golf clap, to celebrate this wines great swing. I gave this wine 89 points, well done!

Also in review this week and worthy of mention are the other samples I received from Napa Cellars; the Zinfandel, the Cabernet Sauvignon and their 2010 Chardonnay.

2009 Zinfandel: A racy little number, packed, no I say jammed with pepper and licorice, plus notes of black raspberry, roasted sage and smoke. I found it to be a bit youthful when I opened the bottle a month; though unpolished then, it promises so much in the near future. This wine went great with the North Carolina “pulled” pork sandwiches I made is highly recommended. Score: 87 points.

2008 Cabernet Sauvignon: This wine was a bit tight, a bit too grippy and tad to restrained, like goldilocks, I couldn’t find the one that was just right. What I found in the way of aromas; freshly roasted coffee beans, sage and dried fruit. After I got my first slurp, I found barely ripened black cherries and plums, unsweetened bakers chocolate and a new leather belt; I was none too pleased with this wine. Score: 84 points.

2010 Chardonnay: A classic California Chardonnay; with all the usual players 98% French Oak [35% new] and full Maloactic fermentation and fantastic Carneros fruit. This wine while rich and creamy, still has an elegant side to it. You’ll find that this wine delivers supple, yet fleshy bite of white peach, nectarine and flowery florals, with a creamy vanilla edge. Score: 87 points.

Hope you will give these very tasty selections from Napa Cellars a swirl, the next time you're out wine shopping, until next time folks sip long and prosper cheers!


Popular posts from this blog

Champagne Uncorked: A Visit to Champagne Louis Roederer

“I'll drink your champagne. I'll drink every drop of it, I don't care if it kills me.”  ― F. Scott Fitzgerald, Gatsby Girls
My first trip to Champagne, was for me, a complete success. I came away from the trip with a brand new appreciation and a deeper desire to get to know it so much better. With each trip to France, I come away with a profound new respect for the country and its people. I've become a Francophile. A place, I barely knew or understood twelve years ago, back before I started this wine journey I'm currently on. I know this will sound cliched, but I like to think of wine as a journey, it's not a destination.

Each stone you overturn on the pathway to discovery develops greater understanding and appreciation not only for the wine but for the great folks behind these labels, who bring great traditions and passion to the table. It's evident in what they say, how they say it and oh-so-evident in the final product, passion is a sure 'seller' a…

Five Last-Minute Thanksgiving Wine Buys

"The three things that make a vineyard great are the climate, the soil, and the exposure. Bien Nacido Vineyard ~ James Ontiveros  

Another wonderful year is nearly ready to put in the can and stored away for posterity. But every year at this time we collectively take the time-out to give a "thanks" for our many blessings.Every year at this time, I give my Top Five Thanksgiving Holiday Wine 'picks' and this year is no exception. I know my post is a bit "danger" close for those wanting to stock up for the holiday, but this short and sweet guide is for the procrastinators who've waited for the last minute to hear about five Oregon Pinot Noir selections to brighten up their holiday menus for Thursdays big feast. 

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is known as a 'mecca' of sorts, where powerful, yet delicate, soulful Pinot Noir, Pinot Gris, and Chardonnay is grown, fermented, aged and bottled. I've recently become a resident of this state, much t…

A Spoonful of Social Media

“You can buy attention [advertising]. You can beg for attention from the media [PR], or you can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.” –David Meerman Scott, Best-Selling Author & Speaker

It was just about four years ago in downtown Paso Robles that Mrs. Cuvee and I were visiting the area, which we try to do as often as possible. We love to hit the wine trail nice and early, but before we head out for the day, we make it a point to have a big breakfast. Since we were staying at the Paso Robles Inn, we thought we'd have breakfast there at least once, the food was tasty, the service was excellent, and the coffee was hot. 

Just one thing was missing that morning; there were no spoons, yes you heard me right, not even a single spoon anywhere to stir cream and sugar into my coffee. We looked at the tables behind us, nothing, we looked into the server station, t…