Admittedly, Merlot is not one of my favorite varietals (“Sideways Effect” or just bad wine?). But, I haven’t completely snubbed the grape. I am always willing to give it a chance, and every now and then I find one that really surprises me, like the 2008 Wild Horse Unbridled, and the 2008 Benziger Sonoma County. The '08 California Merlots must really be hitting the mark for me, as we recently had another one that was quite enjoyable ~ 2008 Miner Family Estate Stagecoach Merlot.
We discovered this wine visiting the Miner Family tasting room on our 2012 trip to Napa Valley. It is very rare that I taste a Merlot that gets a smiley face rating, which means…it’s coming home, and this one did. The 2008 Stagecoach Merlot is a blend of 79% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Cabernet Sauvignon. The nose has classic characteristics of berries, vanilla, and a little smokiness. Dark, tart fruits came forward on the palate, with plenty of tannins. This full-bodied wine did well on its own, but really shined paired with our dinner of meatloaf, mixed green salad, and mashed parsnips.
A great fall wine, and a Merlot worth giving a try!
This wine retails for about $40. It can be purchased directly from the winery, and is also available in limited quantities at select Specs stores. You can also search availability at restaurants and retailers in your area here.