“If I pour you a glass of Merlot, I guarantee that before you pick up the glass you’re tasting every Merlot you’ve ever had or even think you’ve had. Blind tasting frees you from that.” —Shayn Bjornholm, Court of Master Sommeliers As the examination director for the Court of Master Sommeliers, Shayn Bjornholm oversees the […]
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Our minds are trained from an early age to discover unity in the universe’s infinite multiplicity, and this tendency persists even in the small cosmos of wine, whose inhabitants seem preoccupied with the process of separation. Vintners divide regions into appellations, vineyards into blocks and micro crus, but their ultimate goal is to assemble the […]
Some years ago, the tide of opinion turned against Merlot after a scene in the film Sideways convinced audiences that well-tutored palates avoid this varietal. Today, Syrah has met a similar fate, falling out of favor with U.S. consumers. Yet, just as many of the world’s most captivating reds are produced from Merlot—Château Pétrus and […]
Before embarking upon his own vinous enterprise, Robert Foley produced some 15 vintages for Pride Mountain Vineyards, one of the region’s most alluring labels. He has also lent his gifts to such preeminent producers as Hourglass and Switchback Ridge, but his primary passion is currently his own label, for which he makes not only magnificent […]
The legendary Robert Foley has been making the wines for this label since 1999. His balanced and beautifully rendered Merlot has set a new standard for the varietal in the Calistoga region of Napa Valley. The 2007 vintage, which was aged for 18 months in French oak, summons essences of sweet boysenberry, mocha, caramel, and […]
While attending law school, Jayson Pahlmeyer ventured into a wine-tasting class. Over the next 15 years, his legal interests were gradually overruled by his love for the complexities and pleasures of Bordeaux, which prompted him to establish Pahlmeyer Wines. His signature Merlot is aged for 18 months in 75 percent new French oak and is […]
Tasting notes: The Hourglass 2006 Blueline Vineyard Merlot is exceptionally dark, roiling with aromas of black cherry, grape lozenge, coffee, and plum. The wine’s mouthfeel is velvety and dense, and its ripe red-apple and cinnamon-spice finish culminate in cool graphite mineral. Worth knowing: In 1990 the St. Helena, Calif., hillside vineyard became infested with phylloxera. […]
Tasting notes: Le Macchiole 2005 has an amazingly fleshy structure from which hang juicy, racy flavors of ripe plum and black raspberry supported by pure, silky-crisp acidity. It is awesomely complex, with lift and style. Worth knowing: In 1975 the late Eugenio Campolmi purchased the rustic Le Macchiole winery (located in Bolgheri, also home to […]
Tasting notes: Dances with astoundingly deep plum, blackberry, cassis and lively acid. As close to perfect as merlot gets. Worth knowing: The Ornellaia estate was first planted in Bolgheri by Lodovico Antinori in 1981, with advice from André Tchelistcheff. Robert Mondavi and the Marchesi de’ Frescobaldi were co-owners for several years, before complete ownership of […]
Best of the BestMore of the Best of the Best 2017...