To all Best Winers,
Merlot, when vinified correctly, is one of the world’s greatest red wine grapes. Bordeaux’s most expensive wine, the fabled Chateau Petrus Pomerol, is 100% Merlot. It sells for $4000 a bottle. One of Italy’s greatest red wines, Tenuta dell’Ornellaia’s Masseto, is also 100% Merlot. Impossible to acquire at its $500 release price. We could go on but you see our point. Merlot is the grape behind many of the world’s greatest wines, period.
As the near-fatal wounds that Merlot acquired post-Sideways begin to heal, the scars still remain. Merlot really took it in the chops over the last few years. Sales are down, a lot of vineyards have been replanted with Cabernet Sauvignon and/or Cabernet Franc and we see much fewer Merlot labels on the market than we used to.
This is a good thing. There is a subconscious reason why Sideways’ Miles went ballistic. He was secretly maddened by the number of mediocre Merlot wines that flooded the California wine market in the 90’s. Marketed as the ‘softer alternative to Cabernet’, these wines were produced from bad vineyards, young vines and, to add insult to injury, most winery’s charged too darn much for them! It was only natural that there would be a correction in the marketplace, and the strongest Merlots would survive.
Bruce Ahnfeldt planted his first Merlot vineyards in Napa back in 1985. During his 17 years as a farmer/grower, he sold his Merlot grapes to some of the biggest names in the Napa Valley, including BV, Markham and Sterling to name a few. Eventually, the winemaking bug bit him, hard, so he took the plunge and started to produce a few hundred cases of wine from his finest vineyard sites.
Now, he produces several different limited production offerings from his estate vineyards, ably assisted by one of Napa’s top consultants, 100 point winemaker Paul Hobbs. Paul and Bruce work together on the blends and their synergy is obvious when you taste this wine, their 2008 Napa Valley Merlot.
It’s a winner. Sourced from two different estate vineyards, one on the eastern side of the valley and one in Yountville, the wine just exudes the character and confidence of great Merlot. The cocoa-dusted black cherry fruit flavors in this wine are textbook, as is the lavish mouthfeel and notes of spice, licorice and sweet herb. The wine has a glossy, supple feel on the palate in spite of its heft and finishes in a velvety, lightly tannic, fruit-laden rush.
We had no problem selling (and drinking) cases and cases of this fabulous Merlot at its original $39 retail price. Quite the fair tariff given the competition. But for our Best Winers we have negotiated the killer price of $19.88 a bottle while our stocks last. In addition, on all purchases of 12 bottles or more we will knock an additional 10% off!
Kyle Meyer and Tristen Beamon, Proprietors, BestWinesOnline.com