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 34 RETAILER WINE SELECTIONS — MERLOTS Lamonica Family, who own prime vineyards just outside of the Stag's Leap AVA. They pro- duce fi ve stunning wines, displaying gorgeous varietal characteristics along with subtle terroir hints. The Merlot is beautiful and elegant with a lush fl oral bouquet that leads to fl avors of blueberry, black currant and a slight toasty nu- ance. The velvety texture fi nishes with supple tannins that balance the whole. Even die-hard Cabernet Sauvignon afi cionados will love this Merlot! ($44.99) (95) Miner Stagecoach Vineyard Merlot 2013 (Napa Valley, CA). Dark ruby in the glass, the nose is dominated by powerful dark fruit, and some vanilla. The palate follows along the same line, with good weight and length. Truly lovely. ($40) (95) Chateau Barrail Chevrol 2014 (Fronsac, Bordeaux). A classic example of the appella- tion. 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. Hints of blackberry, cherry and spice lead to a lengthy fi nish with fi rm tannins and rich earthy notes. Nice now, it will develop for fi ve years or more. Also, it's a great value! ($14.99) (95) Franciscan Reserve Merlot 2013 (Napa Valley, CA). Nearly all Merlot, with a small amount of Syrah, and a hint of Cabernet. Quite deep in color, with lots of black cherry, some dried fruit and a nice splash of vanilla. The pal- ate has plenty of weight, with the cherry shining through, accented by some vanilla and choco- late notes. A very long fi nish. ($45) (95) Chateau Fontbernard 2010 (Montagne Saint-Emilion). A truly classic Right Bank Rouge, 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Cabernet Sauvuignon. Soft, bright aromas and fl avors of cherry, red currant and plum meld with hints of spice, sweet tobacco and fi nish with supple tannins. There are some lovely earth/mineral notes surrounding the whole that defi ne the appellation. The 2010 is very ap- proachable now, but will cellar nicely for three- to-fi ve years. ($18.99) (95) Maison Nicolas Merlot 2015 (Pays D'oc I.G.P., France). Maison Nicolas has long been famous for importing excellent French wines that represent great quality and value. This Mer- lot has lovely fl oral/black fruit aromas. It is soft and ripe on the palate with hints of blackberry, coffee and allspice. The fi nish is long with a perfect balance of fruit/acids/tannins. Although a modern style, there's a hint of terroir that says "Languedoc!" An unbeatable value! ($10.99) (94) Frog's Leap 2012 (Napa). An elegant, superb Merlot. Full-bodied dark fruit with hints of plum and raspberry. Complex and balanced, with perfectly integrated tannins, make this one delicious drink. ($42.95) (94) B.R. Cohn Merlot Petricka Vineyard 2013 (Sonoma Valley, CA). A single-vineyard, sin- gle-variety Merlot. No blending involved. Dark ruby in the glass, the nose is dominated by dark fruit, with plenty of black cherry and boy- senberry. The palate is very similar, with fi ne tannins and an attractive fi nish. ($36) (94) Matthiason Red Hen Vineyard Merlot 2011 (California). A complex and fascinating wine that walks the line between new and old world. It has a cool, fi nessed character wherein red currant, bing cherries, graphite, espresso bean and cacao nibs are on display. Incredibly pure. For my taste, this is best Cali Merlot I can recall. ($77.99) (94) Northstar Merlot 2012 (Washington). The epitome of great Washington Merlot. Dark cherry and vanilla fl avors work so nice together. The perfect balance of oak makes the fi nish long and memorable. Big, bold and built to last. Lay this wine down to enjoy for years to come. ($35) (94) J.Lohr Cuvee Pom, 2013 (Paso Robles). The ultimate expression of Merlot from J.Lohr. This is their homage to the great Pomerol COOL CLIMATE MERLOT Cool climate Merlot is more structured, with a higher presence of tannins and earthy fl avors like tobacco and tar. Some cool climate Merlot are mistaken as Cabernet Sauvignon. Found in: France, Italy, Chile. A classic example of cool climate Merlot wine is Right Bank Bordeaux, such as St. Emilion, Pomerol and the earthy Fronsac. WARM CLIMATE MERLOT Warm climate Merlot wine is more fruit-forward, and tannin is less prevalent. Some producers use judicious oak-treatment of up to 24 months to give their Merlot wine more structure. Found in: California, Australia, Argentina. A classic example of hot climate Merlot is California Merlot, such as Paso Robles and Napa Valley. Source:

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