Letters from Readers (I’m Not Drinking Merlot)

21 Dec

Today I got a note from a longtime reader, wine lover, and parent of three teenagers from Georgia.

“Searching for wine for an upcoming girls-only party that I am having next week. Can you give me some suggestions for good low/medium budget Merlot please?”- LS

It made me laugh, because few people identify themselves as merlot drinkers. Remember the character Miles in the film Sideways? Sure you do:

As a bordeaux lover, I’m constantly drinking merlot. But I rarely seem to write about it! Why does it get such a bad rap? Sure there’s lousy merlot out there, but when cared for and cultivated well, merlot can be stunning. It often shows a nose of herbs and forest, great purple coloring, and tasty plum-forward fruit.

I digress. So I answered LS quickly, because as a parent of two teens to a mother of three I can relate. Sometimes you really need that glass of wine, and can’t wait to have other adults to share a glass with!

I wanted to offer her a quick list off the top of my head within the $10-25 range from an array of producers and regions. So here we go:

First to mind was three Bordeaux wines are 65% or more merlot:
Roc de Segur, 2012 ($10)
Mouton Cadet Rouge 2012 ($10)
Chateau de Bellevue ($25)
Washington State was next due to great value:
14 Hands Merlot ($12)
Cht Ste Michelle Merlot Indian Wells ($14)
Columbia Crest H3 Merlot ($13)
California has a huge list, I wrote the first five that came to mind:
Bogle Vineyards Merlot ($12)
Beringer Napa Valley Merlot ($)
Chateau St. Jean Sonoma Merlot ($17)
Murphy-Goode (CA Merlot, $12, Alexander Valley Blend, $18)
Hogue Cellars Columbia Valley ($10, Hogue Reserve$25)
My list was obviously missing the other countries that are doing such great work at low prices! So to be fair, we have to at the very least include three countries whose merlot should be easy to find anywhere:  
Yalumba “Y” Merlot ($11)
Mollydooker, “The Scooter” Merlot ($25) or “Two Left Feet” Shiraz/Merlot/Cab Blend, ($25)
Santa Ema Merlot Maipo Valley Reserve ($12)
Montes (Classic Series, $11, “Alpha Merlot”, $19)
Gouguenheim Valle Escondido Merlot ($13)

Making this quick list just reminded me how much amazing merlot is out there for a song.

The next time someone tells you they aren’t drinking any merlot, smack them over the head and tell ’em “Relax, Miles!” and pour them a taste of one of these. 🙂
I hope this list helps when you go shopping, and let us know how your party goes!
So… who else plans to open up a merlot tonight?

à votre santé!



One Response to “Letters from Readers (I’m Not Drinking Merlot)”


  1. Château Larteau 2006 | jvb uncorked - May 24, 2015

    […] much about Merlot, this wine reminds me that Merlot is often and sadly maligned. (Relax, Miles!)  This is an excellent example of a delightful Merlot! At nine years old, it has a good balance of flavors, mouthfeel, depth and structure, making this […]


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