Cheers - September, 2015

Cheers is dedicated to delivering hospitality professionals the information, insights and data necessary to drive their beverage business by covering trends and innovations in operations, merchandising, service and training.

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Page 46 of 51 47 September 2015 • in the glass, the nose is fi lled with spiced black and red fruit, with a hint of smoki- ness. Mouth fi lling, with lush dark fruit. The fi nish is long and balanced. ($35) (95) Shafer Merlot 2011 (California). This wine is a dense purple color, with spice, black cherries and black fruits on the nose. This merlot shines with amazing juicy and chewy fl avors of cherry pie and strawberry. With an elegant mouthfeel that presents a lengthy, most enjoyable fi nish that begs to have another glass. ($60) (94) Markham Merlot 2012 (California). Dark fruit aroma. Cherry, plum and blackberry fl avors. Substantial tannins. Long fi nish ($23) (94) Miner Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2012 (California). Dark ruby in the glass, the nose is dominated by spicy dark fruit, with just a touch of smoke. The palate is an echo of the nose, with good weight and length. A great combination of power and elegance. ($40) (94) Neyers Merlot 2011 (California). A deep garnet-red hue, alluring aromas of black cherry, mocha and caramel, lifted by a fl oral hint. Silky and lush in the mouth, with lovely aromatic perfume to the fl avors of cherry, raspberry, fl owers, cocoa and dusty spices. A nicely balanced, lovely merlot that fi nishes with a fi ne dusting of suave tannins and subtle persistence. This is what merlot should be! ($40) (93) Chateau Ste. Michelle, Indian Wells Merlot 2012 (Washington). Black fruit with spicy notes dominate the nose of this bright, yet full-bodied wine. Dark ruby in the glass, the palate is elegant, with excellent weight and fruit characteristics. Ready to accompany a wide range of dishes, this is a "go-to" meal wine. ($20) (93) Chelsea Goldschmidt Merlot 2013 (California). Winemaker Nick Goldschmidt fi nds that terraced fruit ripens considerably later and brings more complexity and nu- ance to the fi nished wine. Stylistically, this is a cabernet drinker's merlot. Goldschmidt strives for full body and power in the mouth, with wood behind the fruit. The wine has fresh black raspberry, cedar and toasty vanilla aromas, with cherry, black currant and spice fl avors. ($19) (93) Columbia Crest H-3 (Washington). Outstanding wine and value. Rich with ripe red raspberry and dark chocolate. Long intense fi nish. An elegant mouthfeel full of luscious fl avors that keep on evolving. ($15) (93) Hall Merlot 2012 (California). Deep and rich in color, this wine has aromas of cherry, violets and cocoa, leading to an elegant mid-palate with fl avors of dark cherry, blackberries and some toasted oak. This is just a lovely, supple, soft merlot from one of Napa's best "new" vineyards. ($37) (93) Markham Vineyards Merlot 2013 (California). Dark ruby in the glass, the nose is dominated by dark berry fruit, with a touch of plum. Hints of spice and chocolate contribute complexity. The wine is lush and full-bodied, with a balanced fi nish. ($25) (93) Neyers, Neyers Ranch-Conn Valley 2012 (California). This fabulous merlot is farmed organically and fl aunts pure notes of boysenberry, cocoa and dusty minerality with great fl oral lift. Seamless and long on the palate, a real pleasure to drink. ($31) (93) St. Francis Reserve Merlot 2012 (California). Black and red fruit explode from the glass, with hints of cocoa and spice. A very dark ruby, the wine has great fruit and weight in the mouth. The fi nish is extremely long, and balanced to the very end. ($40) (92) Columbia Winery Merlot 2013 (Washington). Quite a dark ruby color to the eye. Lots of red fruit, with hints of spiciness and toast. Lots and lots of red fruit on the palate, with good weight and breadth. A very food-friendly wine; try it with a wide range of dishes. ($17) (92) Franciscan Estate Merlot 2012 (California). Dark ruby in the glass, with purple hints. The nose is fi lled with sweet cherry and red fruit. Plenty of dark fruit in the mouth. Good weight, and a lengthy, well-balanced fi nish. ($21) (92) Matanzas Creek Winery Merlot 2012 (California). This Sonoma County merlot is absolutely delicious. Plums, blueberries, black cherries, mocha, bittersweet choco- late and stones emerge from the glass in a deeply expressive, balanced wine loaded with personality. Drink this plump, juicy merlot over the next handful of years. ($25) (92) Osso Anna Merlot 2012 (California). Complex with a lot of structure, and as it begins to break down, the luscious fruit starts to release. Layers of fl avor that keep offering different hints of light cherry, berry fruit and even a hint of plum. This is a merlot lover's dream. ($23) (92) Peju Province Merlot 2012 (California). Dense ruby to the edge of the glass. Plenty of black fruit, with a touch of plum, spice and vanilla. The wine has superb length and balance on the fi nish. ($35) (92) Poliziano "In Violas" Merlot 2011 (Italy). Blackberry, black licorice, clay and earth tones with hints of cinnamon and leather. Juicy mid-palate with more sweet dark fruit on the fi nish. ($22) (92) Santa Ema Reserve (Chile). Plums, currants and blackberries with hints of dark chocolate arise from your glass. Easy tannins with a touch of spice. Balanced and medium-bodied. Would hold up to grilled meats. ($15) (92) Stags' Leap Merlot 2009 (California). A dry, ageable red with fi ne tannins and beautiful complexity. Drinking beautifully now, and should age nicely. ($40) (92) St. Supery Rutherford Estate Merlot 2012 (California). Very, very dark ruby in color. The nose and palate are rich with black fruit, with coffee and spice hints. Quite weighty on the palate, the fruit shines through with excellent structure. An outstanding fi nish. ($50) (92) Whitehall Lane Napa Merlot 2013 (California). A delicious merlot bursting with blackberry, dark cherry, plum and red currant fl avors. The mid-palate is lush and full, giving way to a touch of mocha and fi nishing long with a hint of spice. ($22)

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