StateWays - January/February 2017

StateWays is the only magazine exclusively covering the control state system within the beverage alcohol industry, with annual updates from liquor control commissions and alcohol control boards and yearly fiscal reporting from control jurisdictions

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StateWays | | January/February 2017 33 RETAILER WINE SELECTIONS Merlot on the Mind We asked members of our panel to taste and evaluate MERLOTS. As always, these selections include brief tasting notes, a rating and the wine's retail price (which can vary from store to store and market to market). If you're a beverage professional with a specialty in wine and you're interested in participating in the panel, please contact associate editor Kyle Swartz at or 203-855-8499 x2225. ★★★★★ FIVE STARS (92-100) A top-flight wine. Superior in taste and character and providing an outstanding price/ value relationship. ★★★★ FOUR STARS (86-91) A very good wine and an excellent value. A wine for which customers will keep coming back. ★★★ THREE STARS (80-85) An above-average wine, at a reasonable price point, which many customers will enjoy. RANKING SYSTEM (96) Duckhorn Three Palms Vineyard 2013 (Napa). It is probably fi tting that one of the original pioneers of Merlot continues to produce this classic version sourced from one of the valley's original single-vine- yard sites. Winemaker Renee Ary takes a classical approach, adding balanced amounts of Cabernet, Malbec, and Petite Verdot, and then aging for 18 months in rich French oak. A classic new-world Mer- lot, rich, complex, bursting with lean silky fruit. ($98.99) (96) Nearco, Col D'Orcia 2012 (Sant' Antimo, Italy). A lovely example of Tuscan winemaking, outside of the Sangiovese box. Half Merlot, with Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a touch of Petit Verdot. Youthful ruby color in the glass, with aromas and fl avors of red fruit, and hints of va- nilla and spice. A long and elegant fi nish. ($42) (95) The Weekender Experience 2009 (Napa Valley). A venture of Donny Sebastian and the (97) Alexander Valley Vineyards Estate Merlot, 2014 (Alexander Valley, Sonoma). The Alexander Valley AVA has been com- pared to Bordeaux in terms of growing conditions, and this vintage continues a 30-year tradition for producing classic, rich, full-bodied Merlots. Winemaker Kevin Hall has crafted a beautiful wine with rich, juicy black fruit fl avors with hints of pep- per and spice. Fifteen months in oak has added a rich structure. The end result is silky elegance with a long lingering fi nish. A wine unfazed by fads that has stayed true in style for those who truly appreciate Merlot. ($20.00)

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