Merlot recommendations

It was 10 years ago this week that “Sideways” unleashed a line that ostensibly led to merlot’s demise Except that merlot already was fading in popularity before that, and it was mostly the bad merlot that fell by the wayside.

There’s a buttload of great merlot out there, especially from Washington. (One note re. this list: There is no Bordeaux because the vignerons generally don’t say how much of any grape is in their bottlings.) Among the best options:

Bogle$12 and Under
• Bisquertt Colchagua Valley La Joya Reserve
• Bogle California
• Columbia Crest Two Vines
• Copa del Rey Maipo Valley
• Hogue Columbia Valley
• Snoqualmie Columbia Valley


• Benziger Sonoma County
• Clos LaChance Central Coast
• Columbia Crest Horse Heaven Hills
• Columbia Winery Columbia Valley
• Folie a Deux Sonoma County
• Milbrandt Columbia Valley
• Murphy-Goode California
• Pedroncelli Dry Creek Valley Bench Vineyards
• Rust en Vrede Stellenbosch
• Chateau Ste. Michelle Indian Wells

• Charles Krug Napa
• Craggy Range Te Kahu Gimblett Gravels Vineyard
• Gordon Brothers Columbia Valley
• Hogue Columbia Valley Reserve
• L’Ecole No. 41 Walla Walla Valley Seven Hills Vineyard
• Milbrandt Wahluke Slopes
• Pine Ridge Crimson Creek
• Seven Hills Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley Seven Hills Vineyard
• Woodward Canyon Columbia Valley

• Barnett Spring Mountain
• Duckhorn Napa
• Hestan Vineyards “Stephanie” Napa
• Northstar Columbia Valley and Walla Walla Valley
• O’Shaughnessy Howell Mountain
• Paloma Napa
• Rocca Yountville
• Shafer Napa
• Spring Valley Walla Walla Valley “Mule Skinner”

BlackbirdOver $60
• Beringer Bancroft Ranch
• Blackbird Illustration
• Duckhorn Three Palms Vineyard
• Leonetti Walla Walla

1 Response

  1. Nice list, Bill!
    Thank you for challenging the “Sideways Curse” – it’s WAY past due.
    There are some great ones from Australia, France, Israel, & Spain too… fortunately, lots of places in addition to California and Washington are growing great Merlot selections too.
    The world is finally ready to give Merlot a favored spotlight on the “palate stage” again.

Leave a Reply