Sunday, December 18, 2016

Wine Review: Markham Napa Valley Merlot 2014

Markham Napa Valley Merlot 2014

Back in 1852, Jean Laurent left Bordeaux for California in search of gold. He struck out on that, but in 1874 he ended up founding one of the very first Napa Valley wineries. He'd became one of the largest producers of California wine of the 1880's. Skip ahead to 1978. Bruce Markham bought several vineyards in Napa, along with the Laurent winery. Laurent's winery was yet again a big success as Markham Vineyards, and it became one of the most advanced winemaking facilities in the country after renovations following the 1988 sale to Mercian Corporation. The heart of the modern day winery is Laurent's old stone cellar.

Markham has been making Merlot since 1980, the same year I was born, so they have my lifetime's experience with the varietal. Their 2014 Merlot comes from various places around Napa Valley including Oak Knoll, Yountville and Calistoga. The blend is 86% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon and 2% Petite Syrah. Eleven days were spent with skin contact while it fermented in 100% stainless steel. Then it saw fifteen months aging in new oak. It has a 14.2% ABV.

Blue October, FoiledWhile I'm reviewing this wine, my music selection will be bringing me back to 2006 with one of my most favorite albums of all time. Blue October's Foiled is, what I believe to be, a masterpiece. Its genius goes way beyond the Hate Me and Into the Ocean singles. I'm in love with every single song. Sound of Pulling Heaven Down reaches deep into the intent of every human emotion. 18th Floor Balcony was my goddamn wedding song. Seriously! It's just such a great album. I'm glad to see that the band is seeing radio play again with their new album.

So here we go. Another Merlot. Man, I've reviewed a lot of Merlot in the past few months. It's a good thing I love Merlot, right? Let's dive in!

The color of the wine is a ruby red with a splash of violet. There's aromas of bing cherry, prune, vanilla and cocoa powder. At first I was put off by the nose but as it opened up it became much more alluring as it got less sticky and a little fine black table pepper entered the scene. Just in case you weren't aware, these reviews aren't rushed unless I say I had to do it swiftly. I take my sweet ass time and see how the night goes. Wine is an experience, not a quick judgment.

On the palate it's medium to full bodied and low in acidity with sweet tannins. Again, at first I felt it was way too sugary and sticky and jammy and was completely disappointed! It was like cheap-Zinfandel-inspired candy wine! That dies off to become a wonderfully expressive, yet rather Cabby, Merlot. On the midpalate there's flavors of cassis, cherries, dark coffee and it finishes with a show of muscle from the tannins and a refreshing mintiness.

AIR THIS MOTHER OUT! Let it breath, for Christ's sake! I'm astounded at how different my first impression was compared to my final impression.

Price: $26
Rating: 4/5 = Recommended (what does that mean?)

The bottle used was supplied free of charge for the purpose of this unpaid review. To have your wine reviewed follow this link.


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