Expert Eye: Eye Openers

“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 […]

FrontRunners April 2015: Cosmic Cuvée

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 […]

Switchback Ridge 2007 Merlot Napa Valley

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 […]

Pahlmeyer 2007 Merlot Napa Valley

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 […]

Tenuta dell’ Ornellaia 2004 Masseto

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 […]

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