Thursday, July 21, 2011

Merlot Time-Bolla, Havens Napa, Clos Du Bois Sonoma, Glenn Ellen, Lockhart, Artesa

Bargain-basement Merlot, $5.99 750ml is out there, but you knew that; you go to the store every week and grab that bottle of Bare Foot, Turning Leaf, Oak Leaf, Leaf-on the wind or whatever, but I have some comments, and I'll begin with a worthy Merlot at $5.99; can you afford a worthy Bargain-basement Merlot?

Bolla 2008 Merlot, $5.99-$8.99, 86 points, is to me the Merlot, at the price we all want, and I want on my dinner table. Buying this Merlot is like going to the grocery store and buying milk and bread. Bolla 2008 Merlot is about as good a wine, at this price, you'll find.
Did I praise this enough?
Maybe it's the Italian label?
Merlot is not my usual affair, but since my wife mostly drinks Merlot, I can't get away without tasting them.
Light Red color, pleasant aroma, light bodied, having a gentle easy mouth-feel, over-all grapey flavor with great drink-ability, but still a one dimensional wine with just a hint of diesel on the finish.

Havens Napa 2004 Merlot, $19.99 (Are they still making wine?), 90 points, opened to an almost pungent aroma, but settled-down, with some breathing, to a roar of cigar, mint, and grape.
Deep Red color is beautiful.
This is a sleek medium bodied wine with a nicely layered finish.
If I'm correct, and this winery is gone, I think we've all lost something. I think the economy is not as favorable to "Family owned" wineries as it was; I've seen the reports of their selling-out, but just maybe, the best wineries, with lower costs (Family-labor biting the bullet) and demanding higher prices (95-100 points get the big-bucks), will weather these financial storms.

Clos Du Bois, Sonoma Alexander Valley 2006 Merlot, $12.99, 86 points, opens to a hint of clove and soft cinnamon, there is a striking floral character along with alcohol (14.5%), and both carry-over to the palate in excess. There is a bit of bitterness, but not offensively so. I did like this plum and licorice light bodied wine having a fair finish. However, with all the competition, the price hurts this wine.

Glen Ellen 2008 Proprietor's Reserve 2008 Merlot, $3.99-$5.99, 82 points, began with disappointment after the good quality of their Chardonnay. I think this is another one of those Merlots that gave Merlot a bad name.
The color is young with bright purple-red hues.
The aroma devolved from grapey to a muted vegetative character.
This is a thin wine with little to commend it, except for a fair, mild, spicy finish.

Lockhart 2007 Merlot, $9.90, 88 points, is Dark-Ruby-Red. The gentle Black-cherry aroma is very nice. This wine has a medium body, a bit floral and sweet, but the plum and licorice give this some richness, and the silky smooth finish makes this a good wine with a high QPR.

Artesa 2005 Merlot, $14.99-$19.99, 87 points, is dark purple, with a strong floral aroma with hints of clove, all of which carries-over to the palate with some espresso syrup and smokiness. This is the first Merlot I would call "chewy". The medium body is  dense and awkwardly complex, and the finish has quite a bit of heat on it.


Copyright 2011 Dennis Tsiorbas. All rights reserved, Template provided by Blogger


  1. Thanks for your comment on my blog! You may have helped inspire me to start writing again, we'll see...

    Havens...oh, how I miss you. The answer is NO, they are no longer making wine. Michael Havens sold the winery to Billington several years ago, & then they went out of business. I know this because a friend used to work for Billington. I miss the Black & Blue, the Merlot, the everything else.

    Imagine my delight when I received an email from a local wine store that said they had 2007 Havens Merlot for $ was Cameron Hughes Lot 169. Maybe you'll get lucky & CH still has it in stock. We were thrilled & bought several bottles. My husband wanted to drink them all within weeks, much to my dismay...& then I forgot about it. Perhaps I'll call to see if they have more tomorrow.

  2. Claire Uncorked, your writing is so good that your viewers still stick with you after all this time; it would be like Havens winery: our loss. I recently read, in a BIG-TIME blog, that most wine blogs are but journals, and that may or may not be true, but without any qualitative judgments being made, when you said this: "While that's very true, I really just needed a title, & my peanut butter & jelly sandwich inspired me. I'd forgotten how much I love those! The idea of journal popped into my mind, but more than that, I was just thinking how much I missed the provincial and lowly PB&J with a big glass of Cooolld milk. Well, any ideas on what wine will pair with that? Dry Riesling or maybe a creamy Chardonnay?
    Anyway, good to hear from you and I hope you are inspired.

  3. I did a foray into PB&J, and what I found, though I did make three of them (Damson plum, black cherry, and apricot & pineapple), was my Zin was just okay, but the Chardonnay was quite good; just in case anyone is interested. Oh, cold milk was still the winner!

  4. WOW. Kudos to you for attempting that one. It's actually never occurred to me to mess with the classic PB&J/milk combo.

    Oh, & I wrote something. Nothing earth-shattering. Maybe that will come later...