Subscribe to Blog via RSS
Search for Events
Recent Blog Articles
- On "Unexpected Napa Valley Wines"
- Robert Parker's Advice to Wine Writers
- Biodynamic Cabernet of Grace from Wise Acre Vineyards
- Back Labels I Can Get Behind
- Napa Valley Premiere - Competitive Juices Yield Record Prices
- Robert Parker Scores and Misses
- 18 Delicious Zinfandels You Need to Try at ZAP
- Awesome Sauvignon Blanc in Santa Ynez Valley
- It's Not Too Late! Downloadable Gifts for Wine Lovers
- 4 Great Gifts for Wine Collectors
- Recapping an Epic Tasting of 1968 Cabernet Sauvignon
- A Blow to the Stomach - SF Chronicle to End Standalone Food Section?
- New Pinot Noir and Cabernet Releases from Sojourn Cellars
- Fervor versus Flavors
- Update: Missing Articles on NorCalWine
- Thoughts on the Inaugural Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA Tasting
- Body Count - On Describing the Body of Wine
- Lateral Moves North
- Enjoy an Epic Tasting of 1968 Napa Valley Cabernets and Other Upcoming Events
- Charles Banks Acquires Historic Qupé Winery In the Santa Maria Valley Appellation
Recent Wines of the Day
- 2010 Gallica Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2011 Harney Lane Old Vine Zinfandel Lizzy James Vineyard Lodi
- 2006 Santana Supernatural Rosé by Mumm Napa
- 2011 Jekel Riesling Monterey and 2011 Jekel Pinot Noir Santa Barbara
- 2012 Matthiasson Chardonnay Linda Vista Vineyard Napa Valley
- Review from the Cellar - 2010 Qupé Mourvedre Ibarra-Young Vineyard
- 2012 Tres Sabores Rosé “Ingrid and Julia” Napa Valley
- 2011 Testarossa Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2009 Lucia Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- Review: 2009 Buccella Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
- 2008 Vin Roc Cabernet Sauvignon Atlas Peak Napa Valley
- 2009 Cornerstone Cellars “The Cornerstone” Napa Valley
- 2009 Laetitia Pinot Noir Single Vineyard La Colline Arroyo Grande Valley
- 2010 Lange Twins Chardonnay Estate Grown Clarksburg AVA
- 2012 Borra Vineyards Artist Series Kerner Lodi AVA
- 2010 Wren Hop Pinot Noir “Fire Messenger” Sonoma Coast
- 2011 Lucia Pinot Noir Soberanes Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2011 Roar Chardonnay Sierra Mar Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands
- 2010 Frostwatch Chardonnay Bennett Valley Sonoma County
- 2007 Smith-Madrone Cabernet Sauvignon Spring Mountain District Napa Valley
NorCal Wine Blog
Two Very Good, But Very Different, Bottles of Merlot
- Wine Reviews
- Written by Fred Swan
- Wednesday, 11 August 2010 20:18
Merlot is typically thought of as plush, but only softly tannic, in comparison to Cabernet Sauvignon. The 2007 from Rubicon Estate isn’t 100% Merlot though, and it’s not softly tannic. Whereas a a few drops of Syrah helped the wine achieve its depth of color, a more generous portion of Cabernet Sauvignon contributed, among other things, a substantial amount of dusty Rutherford tannins. Full-bodied and creamy, even opulent, the wine needed those tannins to avoid being syrupy. The tannins also provide a strong framework for the deeply layered flavors of dark cocoa and chocolate, plum, concentrated black fruit, kirsch and mulberry.
Rubicon’s 2007 Merlot is very good. Its strength and luxurious texture limit the foods with which it will pair well though. Braised meat is the way to go. Fork-tender short ribs or lamb shank with a velvety sauce would work, as would beef cheeks. Drink now through 2020. Highly recommended.
2007 Rubicon Estate Merlot, Rutherford, Napa Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2020
Retail Price: $46
Blend: 91% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Syrah
Aging: 14 months - 70% French oak, 30% American (30% new)
The grapes for the 2006 Darcie Kent Crown Block Merlot came from their estate vineyard on Crane Ridge in southeastern Livermore Valley. The vines are at the top of a hill, at about 800 feet, where the soil is thin and drains very well. The hand-picked grapes got a cold soak for color and then went into a long cool, open top fermentation with punch downs. A basket press was used for gentle extraction of the juice.
The wine echoes the traditional winemaking techniques and its loyalty to terroir. The Darcie Kent Vineyards Merlot is dark ruby in the glass with prominent aromas of black cherry, coffee and dark chocolate against a subtle background of earth and spice. The body is medium plus with grainy tannins providing good structure. There is more black cherry, coffee and dark chocolate on the palate, along with briary blackberry, kirsch and a hint of smoke.
With alcohol under 14%, fruit that is tasty but not exuberant, and tannins that are just a bit rustic, the 2006 Darcie Kent Merlot will go well with the range of foods normally associated with good Merlot. Grilled leg of lamb would be a great, but a juicy burger will work very well too. Drink now through 2016. Highly recommended.
2006 Darcie Kent Vineyards Merlot, Crown Block, Livermore Valley
Rating: Highly Recommended
Drink: Now through 2016
Retail Price: $35
Aging: 18 months, 100% French oak
The Rubicon Merlot was purchased for the review. The Darcie Kent was received as a winery sample.
If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the right above and also below.
Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook. Also check outour comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.
This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.