The SOMM Journal

October / November 2016

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Page 78 of 132

78 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2016 { celebrations } Cannonball Winery 2014 Merlot, Sonoma County ($15) Smooth and smoky nose; lush, velvety and rich with tangy plum and berries; balanced and impressive —especially at this price. 90 Duckhorn 2013 Merlot, Three Palms Vineyard, Calistoga, Napa Valley ($95) Duckhorn hepled put Merlot on the map. Lush licorice nose; elegant, silky and supple with juicy plum and full-bodied flavors, mineral complexity and toasty oak. 95 J. Lohr 2014 Los Osos Merlot, Paso Robles ($15) Lush and smooth with ripe plum and blackberry fruit; toasty, ripe and deep; supple, long and balanced. 89 J. Lohr 2013 Cuvée POM, Paso Robles ($50) A lovely homage to Pomerol; balanced and com- plex with a heavy dose of Merlot (84%); suave and neatly structured with good length. 92 Januik Winery 2013 Merlot, Klipsun Vineyard, Red Mountain ($30) Ripe and juicy with elegant style; smooth and tangy with depth, plum and berry fruit; balanced, supple and long. 92 Kendall-Jackson 2013 Grand Reserve Estate Merlot, Sonoma County ($26) A great value with black plum, cassis and notes of choco- late; rich, deep and dense with sweet oak and toast. 90 L'Ecole No 41 Winery 2013 Estate Merlot, Walla Walla Valley ($37) Silky texture with plum, berries and earth; supple with generous flavors and lovely depth; spice, balance and a long, lifted finish. 93 La Jota Vineyard 2013 Howell Mountain Merlot, Napa Valley ($85) Another brilliant mountain wine made by Chris Carpenter ; lush and juicy with firm structure and generous plum and berry fruit; deep and elegant with intense flavors and excellent balance; lovely, com- plex and long. 95 JACKSON FAMILY WINES Liberty School 2014 Merlot, Central Coast ($16) Smooth and mellow with clean, ripe berry fruit and a hint of spice; juicy and long, balanced. 88 HOPE FAMILY WINES Matanzas Creek 2013 Merlot, Sonoma ($28) Richly textured with deep plum and vibrant blackberry; bright and balanced with depth but not heavy; graceful and long. 92 JACKSON FAMILY WINES Mt. Brave 2013 Merlot, Mt. Veeder, Napa Valley ($75) Dark and deep with excellent struc- ture and style; generous, graceful and long; made by Chris Carpenter, one of Napa's superstar winemakers. 95 JACSON FAMILY WINES Novelty Hill 2013 Merlot, Stillwater Creek Vineyard, Columbia Valley ($28) Delivers ripe plum fruit on a bright, nicely structured texture; fresh and long. 92 Pahlmeyer 2013 Merlot, Napa Valley ($85) Deep and lush nose; velvety and rich with vanilla oak and ripe plum; juicy and generous, supple and beautifully balanced; dazzling. 96 Pask Winery 2013 Merlot, Gimblett Gravels, New Zealand ($22) Lush herbal nose; Juicy and tangy w/racy acidity and fresh fruit, spicy, bright and long. 89 PACIFIC RIM WINE LOGISTICS Pomar Junction Vineyard 2013 Estate Merlot, Templeton Gap, Paso Robles ($38) Generous and dense blackberry and spicy toasted oak; deep but not heavy; balanced and intense. 92 Pride Mountain Vineyards 2013 Merlot, 57% Napa, 43% Sonoma ($60) A classic that deliv- ers amazing fruit on minerals and toasty new oak; stunning and deep with enormous finesse. 95 For the last three years, hundreds of Merlot producers have been mounting a movement to celebrate Merlot, designating October as International Merlot Month. More than 100 Merlot producers, wine merchants, restaurants and con - sumers will taste and toast online (using #MerlotMe), at events, in wine stores, restaurants and homes across the world this month. Merlot was the number-one choice of red wine varietal in a 2015 Sonoma State University study of over 1,000 wine consum - ers and was the most chosen red wine in a 2015 and 2016 study by Wine Intelligence that included more than 3,800 wine consumers. A few further statistics bring home the point that Merlot is very much alive and thriving: • Merlot over $20 is up 6% in the last 52 weeks, and was up 4% in the prior 52 weeks (IRI data) • Merlot by-the-bottle prices have risen 4% in the past year to $67.09 from $64.37 in the on-premise channel. • Merlot by-the-glass prices have risen 3% in the past year to $10.96 from $10.68 in the on-premise channel. • Merlot is one of the top three most important red wines in restaurants, along with Cabernet Sauvignon and Pinot Noir. • Merlot comprises about 10% of all fine dining placements. Last year's #MerlotMe move - ment reached over 6.5 million wine drinkers and generated more than 50 million impressions in over 40 states and 40 countries. Merlot producers are expecting even more buzz this year. #MerlotMe CELEBRATING INTERNATIONAL MERLOT MONTH TASTING NOTES The Somm Journal's Editor-in-Chief, Anthony Dias Blue, recently tasted through some recent Merlot releases from wineries participating in the #MerlotMe movement (see also his Editor's Notebook in this issue, page 10). E S TA B L I S H E D 1 8 9 8 E L E VAT I O N 1 , 7 0 0 – 1 , 8 2 0 F t . A L C O H O L 1 5 . 0 % B Y V O L . 2 0 1 3 H O W E L L M O U N TA I N M E R L O T N A PA VA L L E Y

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