Missing the Merlot Mark: J. Bookwalter 2015 “Readers Blend” Merlot.

Bought this Merlot for $19.98, as you can see. It is a mostly Merlot blend, with 90% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. I’ve enjoyed a lot of great Bordeaux blends in my lifetime, including some amazing Grand Cru’s, and some of the New World’s best. I’ve also always had a soft spot in my heart for Merlot. Yes, it was over-produced in the nineties, and became something of a parody of itself for a while, at least until one throwaway joke in the movie “Sideways” sent sales into a nosedive. This was actually a good thing, as it left making Merlot to the folks that do it well, and passionately. Of course there is some great irony in the character of Miles in Sideways, and his most treasured bottle, but that is an Easter egg for all of you to discover… I’m not in the business of spoilers.

Merlot is indeed one of the noble grapes and a good Merlot is a wondrous thing to behold on one’s palette. A well-made Merlot is silky-smooth and supple, like sipping velvet or doeskin. It is worth your while to seek out a good Merlot now and then to remind yourself why it has earned its place among the greats.

This one though? Not that great. It is a GOOD WINE, but it is not a great Merlot, sadly. Not even a good one to be honest. Not really sure why, other than perhaps the 10% of Cabernet Sauvignon blended in. If I were to taste it blind I’d guess the blend to be opposite of what we have, with 90% Cabernet, and 10% Merlot.

I had it with a nice, perfectly medium-rare T-bone steak and some roasted sweet potatoes. As I was grilling I imagined how the flavors would all blend in my meal and experienced one of those wine-nerd record scratch moments when I tasted the wine at the table.

Oh well. As I said, not a bad wine, but not the Merlot experience I was looking forward to having.

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