It seems that Merlot is still recovering from a couple of things, One is the boatload of insipid examples that clogged wine shop shelves for years; finding the good ones was akin to a treasure hunt. As a sort of response to that the film Sideways did a number on this excellent grape. Thankfully these days more of the Merlot’s you’ll find on your shelf are worth spending your time, not to mention money on. Today I’ll look at a fine example of Merlot from Napa Valley. The Waterstone 2008 Merlot was produced from Napa Valley fruit. The majority of the fruit used to make this wine is from the Truchard Vineyard in Carneros. The balance came from Chiles Valley. This wine is 100% Merlot. All of the fruit was hand harvested. Gentle crushing and fermentation followed. Barrel aging was accomplished over 21 months in French oak; 35% of the barrels were new. Just fewer than 1,000 cases of this wine were produced and it has a suggested retail price of $18.
This Merlot’s gorgeous nose includes raspberry, cherry eucalyptus and subtle candied fruit characteristics. The palate leans towards dark fruits with blackberries, plum, black raspberries and cherries all in abundance. Zingy black peppercorn notes are present as well. Chicory, tobacco leaf, lingering berry fruits and lots of spice notes makeup the above average finish. This wine has good structure that shows off firm but yielding tannins that give with some air. While it’s ready to go now, this Merlot will drink nicely for the next ½ dozen years. This represents a nice value in Napa Valley Merlot.