What usually sets Merlot apart from Cabernet—and makes it special—are its supple texture and smooth tannins. Those attributes are why it is used so frequently as a blending partner with Cabernet, as they help round out Cabernet’s sturdier tannins. This is certainly the case with our 2013 Napa Merlot, a soft, sweet wine with the rich currant, blackberry and herbal flavors that characterize the world-class Merlots. It has a lingering earthy finish, with intriguing notes of cedar and sage. And it has a price about half that of other top-flight Napa Valley Merlots.
When pairing with foods, this Merlot’s roundness and bright, fruity character allow it to be partnered with a fairly wide range of foods. We prefer it with middle-weight meat dishes, like sautéed duck breast, grilled pork tenderloin and braised veal, accompanied by fruits and nuts, like dried cherries, cranberries, smoked tomatoes, walnuts and pecans as ingredients that more fully complement Merlot’s flavors.
*San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition