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Sideways saves Merlot

Remember Miles? – a divorced, depressed, borderline alcoholic middle-aged English teacher who famously says "If anyone orders Merlot, I'm leaving, I am NOT drinking any (expletive) Merlot!"

Funny thing though – when talking about his most prized wine – he pulls out a 1961 Cheval Blanc – a blend of Cab Franc and – you guessed it – MERLOT!  In fact, the greatest Right Bank Bordeaux are blends that are dominated by Merlot - Ausone, Angélus, Le Pin, Pétrus, Vieux Château Certan and L'Eglise-Clinet are some mighty famous and mighty great MERLOT!

So what happened – why did Merlot get such a bad rap?  

The answer is actually pretty simple.  In the 1990s merlot enjoyed a surge in popularity – American wine drinkers discovered that in Merlot you could get a lot of the big fleshy fruit of Cabernet without the harsh tannins.  Cabernet without the suffering from tannic headaches and dried out puckered up palates.  Merlot was soft and warm and inviting, and we flocked to it.  And – as popularity surged – so did the opportunists.  Planting of Merlot skyrocketed, in all the wrong places.  The quality of Merlot plummeted – harsh, thin, unripe, doctored, manipulated and downright TERRIBLE merlot was everywhere by the year 2000.  And if you liked wine – you knew to stay away from anything labeled Merlot – especially inexpensive Merlot.   

So in that sense – Miles was right.  If you were still going into a bar in 2004 and ordering a glass of Merlot – it meant you really didn’t care what it tasted like, you didn’t care about wine, and as far as wine geeks are concerned, you didn’t care that Merlot was a joke.  

But NOW – Merlot is staging an outright comeback for the ages.   And now the Wagner Family – of Caymus fame – has a great Merlot – from an old vineyard in the heart of Napa.  If you like Caymus – you will love the Emmolo Merlot.


2012 Emmolo Merlot Napa Valley

reg $59.99 / $53.99 SALE

$12 by the glass 


Explosively rich, blockbuster style - this is the REAL merlot - not the Sideways merlot.  See for yourself.



Look a bit closer and you will see they even used the same bottle for the 2012 Emmolo Merlot as they did for the Caymus 40th Cabernet - I would say - it might even be better!


Robert M. Parker 92   "The 2012 Merlot is made in an explosively rich, blockbuster style. Its opaque purple color is accompanied by oodles of blackcurrant and black cherry fruit intertwined with hints of espresso and chocolate. Full-bodied and super-rich, but not overly extracted or astringent, this beautifully made, full-throttle, pedal-to-the-metal Merlot should wine the hearts and minds of many California wine enthusiasts. It is the complete package – from aromatics to an impressive entry, a full, savory mid-palate, and a long finish. Kudos to producer Jenny Wagner. It should drink well for 10-12+ years.



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