2017 Trecini Merlot, Russian River Valley, California, USA$28.00
The 2017 Trecini Merlot comes from the Dunn Vineyard, which sits in the low-lying eastern foothills of Sonoma County in a slightly warmer region of the Russian River Valley. The vines grow in well drained gravely soils on a westerly facing slope which allowed the grapes to ripen slowly and capture the last bit of the sun’s afternoon warmth, an essential factor in this much cooler vintage. Memorable, the Merlot brings a richer mouth-feel, with a rich velvet texture. The lower alcohol allows for these deeper complex textures and dimensions to come together and produce a distinctive classic Merlot more reminiscent of Europe than California. Trecini Merlot shows off delicious red fruit characters, with some whiffs of dried herbs and a touch of tobacco. Suitable for drinking now, we believe that this wine has enough natural acidity and structure to be consumed for several years to come.
Chateau Trapaud St Emilion Grand Cru 2015
Written by a former buyer for K&L Wines, “When I was an assistant Bordeaux buyer at K&L many years ago, I was so fortunate to learn from the best, Clyde Beffa.
My friends would say, “you call tasting Bordeaux work?” Yes, it was — we’d taste 50+ samples in a day. Finding a Bordeaux that met Clyde’s standards for quality and price was like finding a needle in a haystack.
So when I started importing, I knew I was lucky to find Ch. Trapaud St.-Emilion Grand Cru. This is one of those rare needles-in-a-haystack, offering head-turning quality for only $39.00. And the 2015 vintage, which just landed, is their best yet.
The French have recognized Trapaud’s quality for many years — you’ll see some of the French retailers on wine-searcher with library vintages going back to ’64.
Reviewers are starting to notice, too. James Suckling rated Trapaud ’15 on par with Ch. Les Grandes Murailles, Ch. La Clotte, and Ch. Grand-Mayne, each of which retails for roughly double.
Behind Trapaud’s rising stardom is the extraordinarily talented and quietly persistent Beatrice Larrabiere, who has been winemaker since winning her father’s confidence in 1997.
She’d worked in Australia and Napa before coming home, and brought a conviction for organic farming even though it was rarely practiced in Bordeaux.
Finally after 10 years as Trapaud’s winemaker, she convinced her father that organic conversion was the right thing to do and she did it. (Certified in 2012 vintage.) That makes Trapaud all the more compelling — being woman-led and organic in Bordeaux’s ultra conservative community is a big deal.
The estate is in the hilly, south-eastern section of St-Emilion, just a mile from Valandraud. Estate plots are all contiguous, a huge farming advantage and somewhat rare in Bordeaux.
So there we have it: Women-led, organic, famous neighbors and incredible value.”
Chateau Trapaud St. Emilion Grand Cru 2015 is 65% Merlot, 25% Cab Franc, 10% Cab Sauv;
25% vinified in cement, 75% in stainless;
unfined and filtered with clay; Vegan
“Impressive concentration here; this smells of dark-berry pastries, plums and fresh cedary wood. Slick and flavor-packed palate with blueberry and deep set plum fruit flavors. Drink or hold.” James Suckling – 92 Points
Duckhorn Decoy Red Wine 2018, Sonoma County$28.00
Since the inaugural vintage of the Decoy Napa Valley Red Wine more than a quarter century ago, Decoy has taken an important place in the Duckhorn Wine Company family of wines. With a reputation for delivering great quality at a remarkable price, Decoy has established a loyal following for its distinctive style, which emphasizes ready-upon-release wines that are capable of expressing their full charm and complexity in their youth. After several years of working with its sought-after grapes, they acquire the renowned Ridgeline Vineyard in the Alexander Valley appellation—Sonoma County’s best region for growing Bordeaux varietals. Located on Oak Mountain, Ridgeline Vineyard is a steep mountainside vineyard with elevations ranging from 100 to nearly 2,000 feet.
The core blend for this appealing Decoy Red Wine 2018 pairs the elegance of Merlot with the complexity of Cabernet Sauvignon. Reflecting the character of each growing season and the diversity of our vineyard sources, Decoy has established itself as a wine of distinction. Rich and concentrated, this wine reveals voluptuous layers of blueberry, cassis and dark chocolate. On the palate, hints of salted caramel and exotic spices add depth and complexity to the fresh fruit flavors, while carrying the wine to a long and silky finish. 43% Merlot, 25% Zinfandel, 24% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Tempranillo.
Duckhorn Merlot 2017, Napa Valley$52.00
The 2017 growing season yielded a beautifully complex expression of Napa Valley Merlot, with inviting aromas of fresh black raspberry, vanilla, tea leaves, pie crust and licorice. On the palate, luxurious red-fruit flavors of strawberry, plum, Bing cherry and loganberry are supported by silky tannins and a bright, mouthwatering acidity that carries the wine to a lingering finish, with hints of maple, cedar and sweet spice. 77% Merlot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, .5% Malbec, .5 % Petit Verdot
Flora Spring Merlot 2017, Napa Valley$45.00
The Flora springs Napa Valley Merlot 2017 is a perennial favorite at Flora Springs, an approachable wine with an easy-going texture that just hits all the pleasure buttons. The 2017 vintage draws on estate fruit from our sustainably-farmed vineyards in Oakville, St. Helena and Rutherford, properties we have owned and farmed for decades. This 100% Merlot spent 20 months in mostly French oak barrels and delivers flavors of ripe blueberries and cherry liqueur layered with luscious notes of vanilla wafers and dark chocolate. There’s a hint of chaparral that adds freshness to the palate along with warm traces of cardamom and cinnamon spice. This is a classic, beautifully-balanced Napa Valley Merlot, polished and rich with velvety tannins and a long, silky finish. It would be a wonderful companion to cumin-scented roast pork tenderloin, tomato risotto, pizza margherita or pasta with ricotta and lemon.
Kimmel Merlot 2014$24.00
Kimwood Ranch in the Potter Valley area of Mendocino is a unique property full of natural resources and abundant wildlife. The fertile bottom ground and rolling hills provide an abundant habitat for bear, deer, squirrel, quail, wild turkey, wild pig, coyote as well as songbirds, raptors and red tailed hawk. The ranch property ideal location provides special growing conditions because the vineyards lie on the west side of the valley against the foothills between Redwood Valley and Potter Valley. This pocket of land has excellent soils and is blessed with afternoon breezes that cool the vineyard. The combination of excellent soil, afternoon breezes and proper canopy management produces high quality grapes consistently. The Kimmel 2014 Four Blocks Merlot comes from the Hillside Vineyard planted in 1997 and is fermented in stainless steel giving the wine a true expression of Merlot. This wine is bursting with wild strawberry, Bing cherry and ripe plum. You will experience the purity of the fruit and enjoy an incredibly long finish
L’Ecole No. 41 Frenchtown 2017$26.00
Frenchtown, Walla Walla Valley’s first settlement, was founded by French Canadians in the early 1800s. A thriving viticulture and wine making community was established in the Valley by the 1860s. This Frenchtown wine salutes these pioneers. Frenchtown shows aromas of wild berries, red cherry, and savory notes of dried sage and thyme. The generous, dark fruit flavors remain focused through an integrated finish. The generous dark fruit flavors stay bright and focused through an integrated finish. 31% Merlot, 25% Syrah,
28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Grenache, 4% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec
LaStoria Reserve Merlot 2017$32.00
The 2017 La Storia Reserve Merlot is a fine example of the ability of this classic Bordeaux variety to make solid, tasty and age worthy wines. The main aromas and flavors are of dark cherry, plums, a bit of black licorice and herbs. The new oak barrels contribute a touch of vanilla, brown sugar, cocoa dust and toast. On the mouth the wine is soft and viscous, balancing the acidity and the tannins well for such a young wine. The finish is long and soft with suggestion of sweetness backed by ripe tannins. This wine will age well and will reward your patience if stored well in the next 3-6 years.
Longboard Vineyards Merlot 2017, Dakine Vineyard, Russian River Valley$35.00
DaKine Vineyard is Longboard’s estate property.Original vines were planted in 1988 for Arrowood Winery with budwood obtained from the famous “Three Palms” Merlot vineyard in Napa Valley. This is a field-blend, meaning they harvest and co-ferment Merlot and Malbec together. Longboard DaKine Merlot 2017 is lush with black currant, violet and blueberry aromas with that signature note of wild fennel. The generous mid-palate is full of sweet-tasting tannins, and dark chocolate flavors. As always, this pairs well with a rare Filet Mignon or a beef carpaccio.
Mutt Lynch Merlot 2018$19.00
This is not a wimpy Merlot. Slightly tongue-in-cheek, but this has always been the motto for our Merlot Over and Play Dead. Winemaker Brenda Lynch’s focus has always been on picking ripe Merlot fruit to get the black and red fruits she loves, and to get soft and ripe tannins. The wine’s label captures this “attitude”… a big, beefy bulldog saying “bite me” is our way of saying this in not your typical Merlot.
It’s all about the fruit. For her “Dog Series” wines, Brenda has one goal in mind – create fruit-forward wines with varietally true aromatics, mid palette weight and flavor, and a full bodied and balanced finish. The Mutt Lynch 2018 Merlot Over and Play Dead is medium-ruby in color and opens with fruit-forward aromas and flavors of red plums and cherries, with hints of black pepper spice and savory notes of tea leaf. On the palate, the wine is medium-bodied, nicely balanced and with a smooth, though dry finish. Enjoy it with grilled hamburger, medium rare, covered in sauteed shitake mushrooms. A close second is meatloaf smothered in smokey bbq sauce.
Paradigm Merlot 2016$53.00
Bright plum and red cherry-like fruit aromas with a light touch of French Oak and spice carry through to the flavors. Lush mouthfeel with forward fruit in the mid palate. So silky and tasty with nice purity of flavor and good richness and length. This vineyard is consistent in producing one of the best Merlot’s in Napa Valley.
Rabble Red Blend 2018$25.00
The Rabble Red Blend 2018 comes from the Mossfire Ranch Vineyard in Paso Robles. Aged in French oak, it is made up of 90% Merlot and 10% Syrah. Brooding purple with dark rimmed color. The nose blooms first with red cherry, ripe plum to dark raspberry with hints of anise seed and ending dusty suede. The palate is explosive, lush ripe fruits give way to supple tannin, layers of dark and bright berries with balanced acidity and firm yet restrained structure. The strong finish lingers of black tea and plum. The Rabble labels are renditions of historical wood block prints from the Nuremberg Chronicle (late 1400’s), textured and tactile, depicting nature’s wrath. Nature is ruthless when it goes ignored. This label illustrates the Apocalyptic Comet falling upon Florence with the Unicorn and Phoenix.