This monster merlot takes the movie Sideways and kicks it in the balls. The damage that movie inflicted to the California merlot biz took its toll on this beleagured grape, but it did one good thing: Pulled the plug on all the crappy stuff that trolled the sea of wine. Now, we can buy and drink great merlot in peace with less greenbacks.
Napa Cellars is owned by Trinchero Family Estates, who also controls Menage à Trois, Joel Gott and Sutter Home, among others. Their 2006 Merlot is easy to drink and loaded with dark fruit like plum, blueberry and ripe black cherry. It’s medium-bodied, slightly leathery with fairly soft, vanilla-infused tannins that slowly fade to the background as you swallow. It’s not so big and brawny that you can’t drink it alone but it would pair well with anything with full fat content like grilled ribeye, meatloaf or duck breast. Sweetness = 1 (out of 10). $18-$22. 3.5 stars (out of 5).