“A few years ago it became fashionable to dismiss Merlot as kind of a pale copy of Cabernet Sauvignon. While it’s true that the Merlot grape may produce a wine that can be a bit less heavy than the more familiar Cabernet, it isn’t also so. Buyers of the absurdly expensive Chateau Petrus and top end California and Washington examples of this variety don’t think they’re purchasing second-string Cabs. Merlot carries its own credibility for these consumers.
“The Dry Creek Vineyard 2013 Merlot is not only distinctively different from typical Cabernet Sauvignon, it stands out among other Merlot offerings, as well. There’s complexity here, perhaps enhanced by the inclusion of small amounts of compatible Bordeaux grapes (augmenting the 85% Merlot are 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Cabernet Franc).
”In winemaking, as well as in cooking, producing an abundance of flavor without a heaviness is desirable. That’s a goal that is rarely achieved, yet it seems to have happened with this Merlot. There’s ample fruit, but it is presented in a complex package of aromas and flavors that hit the requisite Merlot attributes while adding plenty of nuance. These include layers of herbal and spicy aromas that may be part of what the winery describes as ‘dried flower petals,’ a perhaps obscure but spot-on comment. Cherry-like flavors predominate, but you could make a case for suggestion raspberries, too (as we said, there is complexity and nuance). We find the 2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Merlot very appealing and a bargain at $26.”
Food Affinity: “Your reviewer has been the happy beneficiary of the need for a family friend to begin clearing space in his freezer before 2016’s deer season. We think grilled venison steaks such as we’ve been enjoying would be unbeatable with the Dry Creek Merlot. If game isn’t available to you, most beef and lamb cuts would likely work out. How about grilled filet mignon that’s been dusted with herbes de Provence?