Tag Archive for: Merlot

Celebrating Four-Legged Friends with Some of the Best Wines I Ever Drank

06 Jan
January 6, 2013

Wine Reviews and Ratings

Some nights just call for an incredible roster of wine… Within the past couple of months, our closest friends, who happen to live just down the Living Napa Cabulousstreet, lost their two sweet dogs, “Wile E” (yellow) and Sullivan aka “Sully” (brown and white) to old age. When Sully passed yesterday, we collectively knew it was the right time to grab some of our most special wines from the cellar. We took time to look at old photos and share funny stories about these furry boys in their youth and turned the night into more of a celebration. Both wine enthusiasts, we opened four bottles and toasted to great pets past and present, a delicious meal and good, lifelong friendships. Together, we pooled four mind-blowing bottles from the West Coast of the U.S. and Australia. I love Napa wine because it’s what I know. I do enjoy opening my palate to wine from other areas in an effort to continue to broaden my knowledge and appreciation.

Wine Reviews and Ratings

I think I could even go out on a limb to say these were four of the best wines I’ve ever had:

  • Lewis Cellars 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley – The tone of our night was set with this beautiful, fruit-forward wine, produced by former pro race car driver, Randy Lewis. It’s a complex 100% Cabernet with grapes from Calistoga and Oak Knoll.  It began with aromas of cocoa, black fruit and spice and included flavors of oak, anise and chocolate. This vibrant wine had elegant supple tannins and a dramatic finish. Rating: 4.63 Read more →

Wine Reviews: Magnificent Napa Merlot

03 Dec
December 3, 2012

Wines That Will Inspire You to Give Merlot a Second Chance

Some days, Merlot is my favorite of the five Bordeaux grape varietals. In fact, it’s not uncommon to hear, “this wine will really appeal to Cab-lovers” when tasting some of the great full-bodied Merlots out there. Several of the bottles I’ve tried certainly live up to that sentiment. I’m sure many of you know the hit Merlot took after the movie “Sideways” was released in 2004. After eight years, it’s time to look ahead and revisit the beauty this grape has to offer. Following are reviews of Merlots I’ve recently sampled across a wide price range* for you to consider.

Merlot Reviews
  • Pahlmeyer 2009 Merlot ($75) – This is one of the crème-de-la-crèmes of Napa Valley and a wonderful special-occasion wine, rated 94 points by Wine Spectator. The 2009 is comprised of 89% Merlot and 11% Cabernet. The nose on this one was amazing, with notes of oak, violet, cranberry and mocha. Flavors included cherry and allspice. It displayed soft tannins and a nice, lengthy finish. Rating: 4.50 Read more →

A Weekend of Wine; a Bounty of Reviews

19 Nov
November 19, 2012

Five Napa Valley Wine Reviews

Every so often, we enjoy what I call a “Weekend of Tasting” with the goal of sharing a series of Napa Valley wine reviews. This usually involves gathering with a few others who equally appreciate the beauty each bottle brings and are open to reaching into the far corners of their cellars to share their favorite picks with the group. This past weekend, we spent time with family in Michigan and opened some pretty wonderful wines. Five of my top Napa picks are well worth recommending:

  • Laird 2009 Cold Creek Chardonnay – Those who enjoy true, oaky, buttery Chardonnays (like me, on occasion) will like this Carneros-sourced wine. Added flavors of honeysuckle and lavender elevated its sweetness. Rating: 4.25 points. Read more →

Preparing Your Thanksgiving Day Pours

18 Nov
November 18, 2012

Holiday and Gift Wine Ideas

With Thanksgiving and the holiday season upon us, it’s time to start thinking about wines to accompany festive meals or give as gifts. I’ve pulled some of the selections from my recent #GiftWinePick posts on Twitter, which include a range of delicious, crowd-pleasing options you can find in most areas. I’ll plan to share more of these ideas throughout the next few weeks.

While you may not be able to locate these specific vintages at your local store, these wineries deliver fairly consistent, high-quality wines each year. Hopefully, you will be just as pleased with their other options. Prices are approximate and based on the listing prices I found in Chicago-area shops.

Wine Reviews

Now This is How You Host a Home Wine Tasting Party!

11 Nov
November 11, 2012

Inspiration and Tips for a Memorable Event

A colleague and fellow Napa wine enthusiast kindly invited us to participate in his annual home tasting party over the weekend. I knew we’d be in for a treat, but this event rivaled something you’d read about in Martha Stewart Living. As we entered, guests were asked to pick up one numbered wine glass that had been adorned with a homemade cork charm. (To create these, the hostess cut corks into thin, circular slices with a sharp knife, inserted a small jewelry hook into the top and tied them to each stem. I found a similar DIY charm tutorial at Naturally Savvy.) Next, we were provided with scoring sheets that asked raters to evaluate samples on their appearance, aroma, body, taste and finish at up to five points per category for a total of 25 points each. Then, we were free to begin tasting.

Read more →