What is it with Merlot? And I mean New World Merlot. Why is it so uninspiring?
I been disappointed with Merlot ever since I tried my first Merlot nearly 20 years ago. It was a Chilean Merlot and I still have a vivid memory of how heavy the oak was. It was as if there were wood chips floating in the glass. And the fruit was just, meh.
Yet many of the great wines of Bordeaux are made with Merlot. Pomerol and Saint-Émilion are both noted as using Merlot as their primary grape, but the grape is widely used in many other regions of Bordeaux. These are fantastic wines.
But as soon as you cross the Atlantic, Merlot becomes mundane.
So, yes, I was a bit skeptical the other day while at Binny's and one of the staff asked me if I liked classic style Merlot.
"I like Bordeaux style Merlot," I replied.
So certain then that he had the wine for me, the salesman showed me the 2010 Markham Napa Valley Merlot, telling me it was crafted in the classic French style and was half-off for Binny card holders. I had a Binny's card. The discount turned a $28 wine into a $14 wine. I thought, what the heck. I grabbed two.
And now I have one bottle left that I wonder if I'll ever drink.
It was very fruit-forward and very oaky. That sense of wood chips floating in my glass came to mind, reminding me of that Chilean Merlot I had years ago. The finish was hardly noticeable. It wasn't awful, mind you, but certainly not worthy of even the half-price $14 I paid. It was more like a $6 bottle of wine.
Perhaps I will use the remaining bottle to cook with. But I'm not drinking it.
I rate this a 4 using my scale at the left.