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 35 RETAILER WINE SELECTIONS — MERLOTS blends from Bordeaux. Winemaker Steve Peck starts with a classic blending of Merlot and Malbec, then subtly blends in trace amounts of Cabernet and Cabernet Franc. Paso Robles sourcing offers a truly viable alternative to Napa for exceptional fruit. Aged 18 months in French oak. ($59.99) (93) Columbia Winery Merlot 2014 (Colum- bia Valley, WA). A large percentage of Merlot, complemented by 11% Syrah and 2% Petit Verdot. Intense dark ruby in color, the nose is dominated by red fruit, with touches of plum and spice. The palate follows suit, with the hints of spice coming to the forefront. Clean and bal- anced finish. Quite a bargain! ($16) (92) Charles Krug 2012. A "Cab-lover's Mer- lot." Great structure. Lots of mocha, currant and vanilla to hold up to a grilled steak. ($24) (92) Luisa Merlot 2014 (Isonzo del Friuli, Veneto, Italy). Pure Merlot, with a minimum of oak exposure, from northeastern Italy. Quite dark in the glass, the black fruit components dominate, due to the fermentation and aging in steel. Lovely and supple, a great Merlot for those who want to taste the grape, and not so much the barrel. A great wine, at a great price. ($23) (91) Alexander Valley Vineyards Home- stead Red 2014 (Alexander Valley, Sonoma). Merlot is the foundation for this delightful red blend. Each component's vilified separately, and then winemaker Kevin Hall adds Zinfan- del, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cab and Syrah to round out the blend. Lighter in style, very balanced, easy drinking, with concentrated fruit flavors. Oak aging for 13 months ties the whole package together. Very versatile wine for almost any food group, but fantastic with Texas BBQ. ($20.00) (91) Duckhorn 2013 (Napa). Founded in 1976, and one of the original cult Merlot-producers. Winemaker Renee Ary utilizes estate fruit in conjunction with other top sites in the valley to produce this state-of-the-art offering. Classic valley fruit enhanced with Cabernet and Cab Franc is aged for 15 months in French Oak. Warm, rich, full-bodied. Pure velvet for begin- ning to end. ($57.99) (90) Boomtown 2013 (Washington). Medium bodied with lots of dark, lush fruit. Long fin- ish and perfect with your favorite grilled meat. ($16.95) (90) Magana Navarra Merlot 2011 (Spain). A wine made only in the best vintages and only nine times since 1979. This exemplifies the darker, denser expression of Merlot with car- amelized cherries, smoke, rich loam and bay leaf. Somewhat gritty tannins should integrate with time. ($66.49) (90) Joel Gott Merlot 2014 (Paso Robles). Consistent quality with other Gott wines. Hints of vanilla with blanced blackberry and dark chocolate. Soft, juicy finish. ($16) (90) Markham Merlot 2013 (California). A fruit bomb with hints of chocolate. While this wine starts out very juicy, the addition of Cab- ernet Sauvignon adds a very tannic dry finish. Overall, a great versatile wine to pair with steak, burgers or roasted chicken dishes. ($22) (90) 90+ Cellars Lot 92 (California). Good value for everyday sipping. Medium-bodied with hints of plum and cedar. Great with mush- rooms! ($10) (90) Chateau Lyonnat Saint-Emilion 2010 (France). This beautifully produced Bordeaux is just bursting with deep rich flavors. Big dark berry and licorice are the most prevalent. Tan- nins in this have mellowed with age. Wood and smoke mingle nicely on the finish. Drinking at its best now. ($20) (90) Perimeter Merlot 2013 (Washington State). Sweet red fruits on the nose with a pal- ate of raspberry, cherry cola and a hint of va- nilla. Lush and round, there is some spice and a lovely strawberry vanilla finish. ($14) (90) La Croix Belle Merlot Cotes du Thongue 2014 (France). Quite seductive and a real sur- prise. Silky, ripe, smooth dark plums are framed by hints of spices and fresh tealeaves. The per- sistent, fresh, polished finish is where this really satisfies. ($16) (90) Racine Merlot IGP 2015 (France). Very nicely balanced with good crunchy fruit flavors of blackberries and cassis with an underlying freshness that provides lift. Makes an excel- lent choice for appetizers or a poultry or pork course. ($14) (89) Chateau St Michele Merlot, Indian Wells Vineyard 2014 (Washington). Berry and red fruit aroma, with flavors of blackberry and cherry. Tannins are moderate and the finish is medium in length and pleasant. Has some Syrah blended in. ($18.99) (89) Seven Falls Wahluke Slope Merlot 2012 (Washington). With a warm and generous personality, this wine offers up ripe plum, dark chocolate and cloves. The flavors are com- plimented by a pleasant, velvet-like texture. ($15.49) (89) J.Lohr Estates Los Osos Merlot 2014 (Paso Robles). Winemaker Steve Peck has produced a another classic Paso Merlot. Rich, full-bodied, with plummy dense fruit. 15% Mal- bec adds complexity, while aging in American oak for 12 months completes the formula. Rich black fruit flavors complement the hints of bitter chocolate, and lead to a long lingering finish. ($18.99) (89) Rios 2014 (Chile). A surprisingly fresh take on Merlot. Leaner European style with lovely currant and mineral nuances. Perfect with your favorite cheese plate. ($16.95) (88) Duckhorn Decoy 2014 (Sonoma). Wine- maker Don Labored sources from over a dozen prime sites in Sonoma, including the famed Ridgeline vineyard. Rich, complex and silky smooth with a touch of Malbec and Cab Franc added to lend complexity. Aged 10 months in oak, this wine is a tremendous value. ($26.99) (87) Sebastiani Merlot Sonoma County (Cali- fornia). Red fruit aroma. Flavors are Cassis and cherry, with a hint of chocolate. Tannins are of medium intensity with a medium-long finish ($15.99) (87) Toad Hollow Merlot 2014 (Sonoma County, CA). Berries, plum and spice on the nose. Currant, plum and cassis flavors. Tan- nins are a little higher than most Merlots. This is more of a Cabernet-drinker's Merlot. ($12.99) •

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