Can Merlot make a comeback?

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Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Eric Anderson on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:18 pm

The QPR (I always wanna say SPQR) thread on the Louis Martini Cab got me thinking. Since Merlot is/has been generally priced less than Cab, do you think Merlot can make a comeback in sales? No, it's not Cab, but it's red, wet, and comes included with alcohol.
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Bill Tex Landreth on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:21 pm

A comeback implies that it once was in favor...at least in our house. I don't merlot will ever be a varietal that I actively seek out for QPR potential as most in that category are horrid. For sub $20 bottles, I can find serious steps up in Spain and cabs/syrahs from S. America.

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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Eric Anderson on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:30 pm

Bill Tex Landreth wrote:A comeback implies that it once was in favor...at least in our house. I don't merlot will ever be a varietal that I actively seek out for QPR potential as most in that category are horrid. For sub $20 bottles, I can find serious steps up in Spain and cabs/syrahs from S. America.
No question about that - Spain is my go to. But, Merlot was very popular - especially with the non-geek crowd. And, following the theme of buying domestic, I have to believe that Merlot (provided they didn't rip most of it out) could provide the same quality haven as this Martini stuff for a similar price.
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Cris Whetstone on Tue Jan 27, 2009 5:59 pm

I think since it's huge popularity in the 90's and the subsequent backlash wineries are basically ignoring it for the most part. One issue they have now with Pinot's popularity is distinguishing it from Cab for the average person. Pinot is clearly very different where as Merlot might just seem softer and less interesting. I doubt it will ever be "popular" anywhere near it once was but there is definitely room for some people to take it seriously and make serious wines in right bank Bordeaux styles. It think wines of that nature might be a natural fit for the warmer areas of Napa. Like the Blackbird we had the other night Eric. Their goal is to make Pomeral styled wines. Price point is their issue though. There's about zero market for $80 Merlot based wines. Wineries need to start lower and build there rep with Merlot.

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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Paul Flynn on Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:34 pm

I like good cheap Right Bank Merlot and I like a few good expensive Cali-Merlots. The rest of it pretty much leaves me cold.
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Eric Anderson on Tue Jan 27, 2009 6:49 pm

Paul Flynn wrote:I like good cheap Right Bank Merlot and I like a few good expensive Cali-Merlots. The rest of it pretty much leaves me cold.
Cris and I attended a merlot tasting the other night. There were some high end, some low end and some in the middle. But, one of the surprises ("hey, this isn't bad") was a Clos du Bois bottling which probably was around $10. I can't help but think somebody will get on the bandwagon and deliver more of this as we move through the next xx months of economic malaise. Of course, I thought the stock market was coming back right away too.
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  William Segui on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:02 pm

I'm not sure it will ever be as popular as it was, but it is still an easy drinking red that a lot of people like. Just not many hard core geeks like you see on BB's like this.

I'd love to see someone around here make a right bank Merlot, but I don't see it happening.
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Cris Whetstone on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:14 pm

I was pretty shocked at how good the Clos Du Bois was. There were a couple other 'budget' wines on the table that cost more but were certainly far less in quality. It would be interesting to know if Clos Du Bois got lucky on the vintage or if that bottle is usually of that quality.

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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  mike pobega on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:15 pm

What Bill said.
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Roy Piper on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:17 pm

Merlots in Napa are staring to come out from the cooler parts, like Oak Knoll, Carneros and Coombsville, as well as from the mountains. I recently tasted a blend of 2007 Blackbird that will go on sale at the Premier Auction, and it was pretty sweet.

The best Merlot I know of is a tiny amount made by WS Keyes, which comes from Howell Mountain, and is part of the Jess Jackson empire. They make perhaps 400 cases and it is really good. It is almost impossible to find.

http://www.wskeyes.com/history/history.html
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Eric Anderson on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:25 pm

I'm such a cheap bastard with some varietals. I just don't wanna pay $50+ for a bottle of f%&*$#@ merlot. Oh YEAH, I do love many of them - I just don't want to pay for them.
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Re: Can Merlot make a comeback?

Post  Roy Piper on Tue Jan 27, 2009 7:29 pm

If Merlot like the mid-90's Pahlmeyer came out now, I would pay $100 for it in a flash. I loved those wines.
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