Wine Talk

Snooth User: czarina908

In Need a Merlot Recommendation

Posted by czarina908, Jul 17, 2014.

I need some help finding a under $15 Merlot.  For years my go-to Merlot was Clos du Bois North Coast because it had soft tannins, lush red/dark fruit and a silky mouthfeel/finish.  The '12 and '13 vintages had a spice component that I didn't like so Merlot, hasn't been in my lineup.  I recently tried an Old World Merlot, Clos de la Moriette, which was awful -- bone dry and almost no fruit.  I've since been happily drinking Pinot Noirs by Greg Norman and Cambria. 

Should I keep steering clear of Merlot or would someone recommend one that would please my palate?  Thanks!


Reply by EMark, Jul 17, 2014.

Picking a Merlot below your $ bar is non-trivial, Czarina, but I do have an idea.  Look for Columbia Crest, a Washington winery, that is fairly well-distributed, is easy on the wallet and, in fact, has year-in and year-out put out a darned good Merlot.  If you go to their web site, you will see that they are currently offering three Merlots--two of which should be your price range in retail stores.


Reply by czarina908, Jul 17, 2014.

Thanks EMark. So let's lift my Merlot budget to under $20.  I tried Columbia Crest Grand Estates Merlot earlier this year and the flavor was weak with zero finish so I plan to stay away from their merlots.

My fabulous local liquor store has 2 reasonably priced Merlots I've been considering: Annabella and Greg Norman Limestone Cabernet-Merlot. Any opinions?

Reply by JonDerry, Jul 17, 2014.

Chateau Ste Michelle (Cold Water Creek or one of their others) should be pretty widely available.

Sbragia makes quality, affordable Merlots as well but they may not be as easy to find.

Reply by RandyFisher, Jul 18, 2014.

Sounds like your looking for something fruit forward. Try "Gnarly Head" wines out of Lodi. They make a merlot and a cab that should fit the bill.

Reply by EMark, Jul 18, 2014.

Czarina, no, I don't have any experience on those at all.  Why don't you try them and report back to us?  The fact of the matter is that I drink very little Merlot.  I do like Keenan, but I must confess to a Keenan prejudice.  I don't think I've ever had a Keenan wine that I did not like.  The Keenan Napa Valley Merlot bottling runs, I believe, a tad over $30.  It is the most full-bodied Merlot I have ever had.  I have to admit that I prefer big mouth-filling reds.  This one hits my sweet spot, but I suspect that most people who really prefer a smoother Merlot would not care for this one.  Keenan also has a "Carneros" Merlot in which the combine grapes from their Spring Mountain estate vineyard with those from a partner vineyard in the Carneros.  I enjoy it, even though it is much less mouth-filling than the "Napa Valley" bottling.

Oh, and I agree with Jon on the Chateau Ste. Michele and the Sbragia ideas.  The Sbragia will, I'm pretty sure, come in over $20, but it is a well-made wine.

Reply by MJET, Jul 18, 2014.

Chateau Ste. Michele +1, you should also give the Gordon Brothers Merlot a try. It's $24 at TW. Gordon is my favorite and go to Merlot when I want a change from the everyday Cabernet. 

Reply by Vinogger, Jul 18, 2014.

I prefer mountain fruit for my Merlot but unfortunately  that can't be found for $15 or less.  

For inexpensive Merlot I suggest you try Steele Winery of Lake County, Bogle Merlot or Happy Canyon Vineyards Merlot from Santa Ynez Valley



Reply by William Djubin, Jul 19, 2014.

I would go Malbec, a little drier than USA merlot but inexpensive for most labels. Argentina.

**** for $20 may get you a Catena.!


Reply by dvogler, Jul 22, 2014.

We're all looking for "good" wine under $20!  You can't have $40 expectations from a $15 bottle.  You might find one that's surprisingly good for $15, but probably won't WOW you.  Good luck.

Reply by GregT, Jul 23, 2014.

True but now we have that Malbec and then there's this:

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