Much of the world’s Merlot is undistinguished. Its default expression is a soft, rounded wine lacking tannin, acidity, and character. “Global” merlot is smooth and easy, but neither distinctive nor particularly interesting. But in Bordeaux, Merlot thrives as an essential component to the region’s most iconic wines.
On Bordeaux’s Right Bank, particularly in the towns of Pomerol and St-Emilion, Merlot reaches its ultimate expression. The exact combination of limestone and gravel soils produce a version of the grape with balance, definition, and depth.
Made from 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc, it’s a rich, velvety blend with a classic combination of dark fruit and spice. Wine Advocate awarded 91 points, finding it “medium-bodied, soft, refreshing and elegant,” with “quiet intensity.” Antonio Galloni of Vinous found it “soft, pleasant, [and] easygoing.”
Today this wine is smooth and elegant, with mellow fruit and gorgeous earthy notes. The mouth is rich and velvety, with fleshy, approachable tannins supporting the gorgeous fruit. Look for notes of plums and toast with cassis, dark chocolate and dried violets. Pour this with a steak salad or this hearty Mushroom Farro.
Montlisse St-Emilion Grand Cru 2016
bottle price: $35
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