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 47 of 51 48 • September 2015 FOUR STARS (91) Bogle Merlot 2013 (California). Consistent performer on price and quality. Easy drinking with ripe dark cherry. A "go-to" wine that's perfect for everyday meals from burgers to pizza to poultry and red meats. ($10) (91) Cadence Coda Red Mountain 2013 (Washington). An intensely concentrated merlot that delivers opulent dark fruit, chocolate, coffee, spice and cedar. The fl avors blend together on the palate to create a savory, rich profi le that's nearly irresistible. The fi nish is long, with lingering notes of dark plums. ($37) (91) Camaraderie Cellars Merlot 2010 (Washington). Full of bold fl avors of dark cherries, dark plums, baking spices and vanilla-laden oak. The upfront richness is balanced by a well-structured, crisp fi nish laced with fi ne-grained tannins. ($25) (91) Chateau Laville Bordeaux Superieur 2012 (France). A blend of 75% merlot, 25% cabernet franc. After a year in oak, you get a seamless, silky merlot with a nice touch of spice to accompany ripe cherry notes. A classic, elegant style with a touch of an earthy edge providing character and complexity. ($17) (91) Chateau Picau-Perna, Saint- Emilion, 2012 (France). This Right Bank Bordeaux sings with cherries, blackberries and even coffee beans on the nose. This wine has a lot of plum concentration in the mouth, with soft tannins and good acidity. The fi nish is somewhat complex, with more coffee bean fl avors intertwined with dried fi gs. ($20) (91) Chelsea Goldschmidt Merlot 2013 (California). This merlot has amazing structure and fruit. Lingering, yet subtle berry fruit fl avors give this wine that extra little pop of energy and provide for a satisfying fi nish. The acidity and tannins do not fall off, yet are not overpowering, adding the balance to make this merlot a must-have. ($17) (91) Duckhorn Merlot 2012 (California). Aromas of black tea, smoke, pomegranate and vanilla bean. A sleek textured wine with fi nely grained tannins on the extended fi nish. ($50) (91) Gainey Vineyards, Merlot 2011 (California). Chocolate and toasted oak on the nose, with enticing scents of cassis, wild cherry and dried herbs. Contains lush black currants and blackberry fl avors throughout the mid-palate, fi nishing with a velvet touch in your mouth. ($20) (91) Gordon Estate Merlot 2012 (Washington). A wine that showcases why Columbia Valley merlots are so critical- ly acclaimed: aromas and fl avors of plums, cedar, spice and vanilla are woven together in the graceful, nuanced fi nish. ($30) (91) Gordon Estate Merlot 2013 (Washington). Ruby, with garnet hints. The nose is fi lled with concentrated black fruit, with sweet spice notes. The palate has great weight, with plenty of dark fruit. The fi nish lingers, with good balance. ($25) (91) Milbrandt The Estates Merlot 2011 (Washington). Earthy aromas of ripe plum and herbs with fl avors of black cherry and blueberry, leading to a silky fi nish with hints of vanilla and toast. One of the best of Washington's mid-priced merlots. ($25) (91) Monticello Merlot Estate 2013 (California) An elegant Napa Valley merlot brimming with nuanced fl avors of blackber- ries, red plums, smoke, dark chocolate and cedar. It impresses for its expansively rich texture and lengthy fi nish. ($37) (91) Pepper Bridge Merlot 2012 (Washington). Substantial yet elegant. This wine possesses concentrated elements of blackberry, black cherry and bitter chocolate, with a touch of tobacco. ($58) (90) Benziger Merlot 2012 (California). Bright cherry with a touch of spice and vanilla. Medium bodied, with a smooth creamy fi nish. ($16) (90) Bridgman Merlot 2013 (Washington). An enticing merlot that showcases a complex medley of raspber- ries, smoke, espresso, sweet vanilla and cocoa. The velvety smooth texture on the fi nish is simply delicious. ($19) (90) Casale Del Giglio 2012 (Italy). Sits 8 to 12 months in small oak barrels, bringing out scents of red berries and black cherry. The herbs, exotic spices, leather and tobac- co make for a complex merlot. The velvety fi nish and cracked pepper are perfect with a bowl of pasta carbonara. ($11) (90) Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells Merlot 2012 (Washington). This merlot offers rich, concentrated fl avors of wild berry, blueberry, dark plum and cassis. A jammy style with a round mouthfeel and a delicious supple fi nish that lingers nicely. ($20) (90) Courtney Benham Merlot 2014 (California). A strikingly bold merlot with black cassis, oak, spice and dark chocolate on the palate. A "must try" for any fan of rich, well-structured merlots. ($21) (90) D'Autrefois Merlot 2013 (France). A surprisingly complex wine with aromas and fl avors of raspberries, cherries, baking spice and fl oral notes. It fi nishes soft, with pleasant tannins and lingering notes of plums. ($13) (90) Debeaune Spec Select Merlot 2013 (France). Fruit-forward and plush, this merlot possesses aromas and fl avors of cherry, currant and vanilla. It is supple, plush, and easy to drink. ($12)

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